Teboho Mokoena playing for a place at Afcon at Cosafa

Teboho Mokoena during the South African national men's soccer team media open day and coaching clinic at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on May 30, 2019 in Durban, South Africa.
Teboho Mokoena during the South African national men's soccer team media open day and coaching clinic at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on May 30, 2019 in Durban, South Africa.
Image: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images

Teboho Mokoena says he still holds out hope of winning a place in Stuart Baxter’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt – if he can show his form in the Cosafa Cup.

But the SuperSport United midfielder‚ who won the Absa Premiership Young Player of the Season prize in 2018-19‚ is not alone in those thoughts‚ saying that is creating excellent competition in the squad ahead of Sunday’s quarterfinal against Botswana.

“When coach Stuart came‚ he told us that he might still select a few Under-23s [for Afcon]‚ so everybody is thinking the same thing‚ ‘Why not pick me?’” Mokoena said.

“Everyone is working hard‚ everyone wants to start. It is competitive. Botswana are going to face a big challenge against us.

“I have to give my best. I must put up my hand so the coach can select me. I am still in good shape. I have to continue the consistency and try to get better.”

Although confident the side will put on a good showing‚ Mokoena said SA cannot expect to breeze past Botswana at Princess Magogo Stadium.

“There is no easy game in football – we have to go there with the right mentality. For me it is about getting more experience at international level and understand what I can encounter if I can go Afcon‚” he said.

The little SuperSport central midfielder added that‚ when on song‚ Bafana Bafana are a match for any side‚ given the greater technical ability of South African players.

“As South Africans we are much more technical. Most opponents we face want contact football‚ but if we control the ball and move‚ we create chances and can be much better than them.

“If we prove our work ethic on the field of play we can beat anyone in Africa.”

Mokoena was a contender for Goal of the Season in the last league campaign‚ scoring a number of stunning strikes. He says they are no fluke‚ but the result of hard work on the training pitch.

“It’s about practice – every time after training I stay back and do my shooting. If you continually practice then you have the confidence to try it in matches.”

Mokoena has played four times before for Bafana‚ scoring his first goal against Seychelles in the 6-0 Nations Cup qualifier last October. His last appearance was a full 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Paraguay a month later.

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