Sunday World

Cosafa springs up new brand of Bafana future stars

Competitio­n for places in national side intensifie­s

- By Xolile Mtshazo

A number of players have distinguis­hed themselves during the ongoing Cosafa Cup, emerging to claim their places in the Bafana Bafana set-up, something that augurs well for the national team as competitio­n for places intensifie­s.

Here are some of the revelation­s:

Ethan Brooks: The TS Galaxy starlet and midfielder, 19, made his internatio­nal debut in the Under-20 Cosafa Cup and has since graduated to make his maiden appearance for Bafana in the 3-2 friendly victory over Uganda last month.

His performanc­e in the Cosafa Cup has been impressive after making starts against Botswana and Eswatini, both 1-0 wins.

The teenager has even drawn comparison­s to former Bafana midfield general Steven Pienaar.

Monnapule Saleng: Unveiled as Pirates players with Goodman Mosale, Kwanda Mngonyama and Bandile Shandu two weeks ago, the former Free State Stars midfielder, 23, is a good crosser of the ball.

He has good technical skills and his great understand­ing of football techniques is the very reason Bucs signed him.

He has played for first division club Ella Koto in the last two seasons before Pirates snapped him up. Saleng was with amateur side Orbit College before joining the second-tier outfit Stars.

In the Cosafa Cup first-round match against Eswatini, Saleng assisted substitute Thabang Sibanyoni with a brilliant through-ball that resulted in the 1-0 match winner.

Moegamat Maart: The Sekhukhune midfielder, 25, has appeared in all four Cosafa Cup games before the semi-finals. He was drafted into the team to play Lesotho, replacing the injured Brooks in a match Bafana emphatical­ly beat Lesotho 4-0 leading to the semis.

The Orlando Pirates reject made his senior Buccaneers debut in a 3-1 victory over EC Bees in the Nedbank Cup in 2017 but turned a new leaf at Cape United where he was on loan.

After joining Babina Noko last season, he played a key role in the their promotion to the Premiershi­p. The massive impact he has made at Limpopo-based club earned him his maiden Bafana call-up for the Cosafa Cup.

A number of players have distinguis­hed themselves at Cosafa

Sinethemba Sithebe: The Amazulu dreadlocke­d attacking midfielder and current Bafana co-captain in the regional Casafa Cup was rewarded with his first cap by former coach Molefi Ntseki in the friendly against Namibia last October in preparatio­n for the unsuccessf­ul Africa Cup of Nations qualificat­ion.

Sithebe, 27, is aggressive, enjoys his playmaker role and is comfortabl­e as a link between the defence and attack.

Sithebe is not afraid to receive the ball even when tightly ganged up.

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 ?? /Gallo Images ?? Ethan Duncan Brooks of South Africa during a match against Botswana at Nelson Mandela Stadium early this month.
/Gallo Images Ethan Duncan Brooks of South Africa during a match against Botswana at Nelson Mandela Stadium early this month.

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