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Ethan Brooks to lead Bafana Bafana as squad assembles for Cosafa Cup

Ethan Brooks in action for Bafana Bafana in their 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe at FNB Stadium in November 2021.
Ethan Brooks in action for Bafana Bafana in their 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe at FNB Stadium in November 2021.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana assembled for camp in Johannesburg on Monday ahead of the 2022 Cosafa Cup in Durban.

The SA team taking part will officially be Bafana, but comprise SA U-23 players. The Cosafa Cup takes place from July 5 to 17 at King Zwelithini, Princess Magogo and the Moses Mabhida stadiums.

The South Africans will be coached by Bafana assistant Helman Mkhalele and it is still not clear why David Notoane, who coached the U-23s at the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year, did not get the nod. The 32-player preliminary squad will be cut down before the team departs for Durban on July 10.

As has been the norm, SA will start the competitions in the quarterfinals where they will face Mozambique on July 13.

Among the more qualified players expected to lead the team are midfield workhorse Ethan Brooks, who has just moved from TS Galaxy to AmaZulu; highly-rated Stellenbosch FC centreback Athenkosi Mcaba and Golden Arrows left-back Sbonelo Cele.

Brooks played in the Bafana match against Ghana in Cape Coast where the South Africans were bundled out of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers with a 1-0 defeat via a highly-contested penalty awarded to the Black Stars.

SA won last year’s Cosafa Cup in Gqeberha under coach Morena Ramoreboli, who was called in to replace Mkhalele at the eleventh hour. Mkhalele had tested positive for Covid-19.

Bafana went on to win the tournament without losing a match or conceding a goal.  Siyethemba Sithebe, Veli Mothwa and Victor Letsoalo won accolades while others such as Brooks, Bruce Bvuma, Rushine de Reuck, Njabulo Ngcobo and Bongokuhle Hlongwane became part of senior national coach Hugo Broos’ squad that almost reached the final round of qualifying for the Qatar World Cup. 

This year the SA Football Association (Safa) took the decision that the SA U-23 team should take part in Cosafa. The Olympic side has not played a game since the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, last year in July.

Broos recently criticised Safa and questioned why the U-23s had been inactive, later apologising for his utterances.

Preliminary SA squad for the Cosafa Cup

Goalkeepers: Lincoln Vyver (Cape Town Spurs), Bontle Molefe (Kaizer Chiefs), Smandla Nzimela (AmaZulu), Lebohang Nthene (Stellenbosch), Lindokuhle Ndyenga (Bush Pirates, Eastern Cape)

Defenders: Sbonelo Cele (Golden Arrows), Athenkosi Mcaba (Stellenbosch), Kamogelo Mahlangu, (TS Galaxy), Keegan Johannes (SuperSport United), Zuko Madunyelwa (Chippa United), Siyanda Msani (University of Pretoria), Wayne Dortley (Cape Town Spurs), Liam de Kock (Stellenbosch), Khulekani Shezi (Royal AM), Nelson Ralenkoane (Orlando Pirates), Simanyi Sajani (Bush Pirates)

Midfielders: Jayden Adams (Stellenbosch), Ethan Brooks (Galaxy), Sydney Malivha, Dan Ndlovu (both Baroka FC), Selaelo Rasebotja, Thapelo Maseko (both SuperSport United), Rowan Human (Maritzburg United), Kagiso Shezi (Uthongathi), Chumani Busaka (Cape Town Spurs), Sifiso Mbidana (Bizana Pondo Chiefs)

Strikers: Ntiyiso Bombi, Thuso Mogale (both Baroka), Azola Matrose (Chippa United), Antonio van Wijk (Stellenbosch), Keletso Sifama (Chiefs), Boitumelo Radiopane (Pirates), Hamilton Khohlakala (Bazuka United, Western Cape)

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