Mkhalele’s exciting Bafana Bafana prelim squad for COSAFA Cup

Mkhalele’s exciting Bafana Bafana prelim squad for COSAFA Cup

Bafana Bafana assistant coach Helman Mkhalele has named an exciting preliminary squad for the 2024 COSAFA Cup tournament.

This is undoubtedly the strongest Bafana Bafana squad for the annual regional tournament in years.

However, as usual, the biggest challenge for the national team could be the availability of these players as teams are not forced to release them.

The issue of club versus country when it comes to COSAFA Cup tournaments is well-documented, and Bafana Bafana’s excitement could again be short-lived.

Previous Bafana Bafana coaches had to scramble for players just hours before the commencement of the tournament.

And Mkhalele might be praying that this is not going to be the case when he announces his final squad for the tournament.

This year’s tournament will take place between 26 June and 7 July.


Now, back to the squad, Mkhalele has opted for four goalkeepers in Sipho Chaine, Melusi Buthelezi (both from Orlando Pirates), Bruce Bvuma of Kaizer Chiefs and AmaZulu’s Olwethu Mzimela.

Young players such as Devin Titus, Relebohile Mofokeng, Mduduzi Shabalala have all made the cut amongst others.

Siyabonga Mabena of Mamelodi Sundowns, Thabiso Sesane of Pirates and Luvuyo Phewa of Cape Town Spurs have also cracked the nod.

Mkhalele has also shown confidence to Samkelo Zwane of Chiefs despite his lack of game time at club level last season.

There are experienced campaigners in the squad, including the likes of Mfundo Thikazi of Royal AM, Ethan Brooks, and Rowan Human (both from AmaZulu).

This preliminary Bafana Bafana squad has some solid midfield anchors in Thalente Mbatha of Pirates and Athenkosi Mcaba of Stellenbosch FC.

But whether or not all these players will be available for the final squad remains to be seen. Mkhalele is expected to trim the squad in the next few days.

Below is the preliminary Bafana Bafana squad in full…

Coach Helman Mkhalele announces preliminary South African men’s squad for the COSAFA Cup. This year’s tournament will be held from 26 June – 7 July.

— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) June 14, 2024


Just last year, Mkhalele’s coaching qualifications were under scrutiny as he was disqualified from sitting on the bench for COSAFA Cup games.

At the time, Mkhalele was in position of SAFA D License, and the association had to call Jwaneng Galaxy coach Morena Ramoreboli to lead Bafana Bafana.

After all, he won the COSAFA Cup with the likes of Veli Mothwa who was later ‘promoted’ to Hugo Broos’ team.

However, it doesn’t seem like this is an issue anymore as Mkhalele is now the coach for this year’s tournament.