The 2013 COSAFA Cup kicked off in Zambia last weekend with the smaller nations battling it out in the group stages to book a place in the quarter-finals. Six nations were seeded straight to the last eight; Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Angola. South Africa were seeded to play the winner of Group A which consisted of Namibia, Mauritius and Seychelles. Namibia came out tops after their two matches and will look to overcome neighbours South Africa in the quarter-finals. The tournament, sponsored by South African Breweries and officially named the 2013 COSAFA Castle Cup, will be the 14th edition.
To Win (90mins)
South Africa 6/10
Coach Gordon Igesund has had to call up a second string squad as this tournament does not fall on a FIFA Internationals date. Overseas based players have to attend pre-season training with their clubs while bigger PSL clubs withdrew their players due to club commitments. According to SAFA, “Gordon Igesund is hopeful that the latest change in the Bafana Bafana squad travelling to the COSAFA Cup in Zambia will be the last” – and it is fairly certain the fans are hoping the same thing. Igesund has already made two sets of changes to his original squad, after players were withdrawn from consideration by their clubs. The latest casualty is Platinum Stars’ Vuyo Mere. Seeing that the club had already given Bafana Bafana four players it was felt the player should not be part of the travelling party so as not cripple Platinum Stars’ preparations for the league. Igesund has called up Gladwin Shitolo of Jomo Cosmos in Mere’s place. The squad assembled on Wednesday, July 10. However, defender Bevan Fransman will not be available for the first match on Saturday, June 13 because of club commitments. Fransman is expected to line up for SuperSport United against English Premier League side Manchester City in a pre-season clash at Loftus Stadium on Sunday, July 14. He will fly out to Zambia the next day.
The final squad is:
Goalkeepers: Wayne Sandilands (Mamelodi Sundowns), Siyabonga Mpontshane (Platinum Stars)
Defenders: Sibusiso Khumalo, Bevan Fransman (SuperSport United), Buhle Mkhwanazi (University of Pretoria), Thulani Hlatshwayo (Ajax Cape Town), Lehlohonolo Nonyane (Jomo Cosmos), Gladwin Shitolo (Jomo Cosmos), Tshepo Gumede (Platinum Stars)
Midfielders: Sibusiso Msomi (Platinum Stars), Lerato Chabangu (Moroka Swallows), Jabulani Shongwe, Hlompho Kekana (both Mamelodi Sundowns), Ruzaigh Gamildien (Bloemfontein Celtic), Lebogang Manyana (Ajax Cape Town), Mzikayise Mashaba (Bidvest Wits), Mandla Masango (Kaizer Chiefs)
Forwards: Edward Manqele (Mamelodi Sundowns), Katlego Mashego (Moroka Swallows), Thabani Mthembu (Platinum Stars)
Lerato Chabangu is the biggest name in the squad while there are also other experienced players like Fransman and Katlego Mashego. The focus doesn’t seem to be on youth, but rather players who will be given a chance to stake a claim in the Bafana squad in upcoming matches.
Namibia became the first country in the preliminary group stages to reach the quarter-finals after a dramatic comeback to beat Seychelles 4-2 at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka on Monday. This is the same venue that the Brave Warriors will meet Bafana Bafana on Saturday. Namibia fought back twice to pick up the three points they needed to qualify for the last eight from their allotted two Group A games, after earlier beating Mauritius 2-1 in the tournament opener on July 6. They were stunned after Seychelles went ahead in the 10th minute. Sadney Urikhob levelled scores in the 25th minute but Seychelles went back in the lead in the 37th minute after pouncing on a loose ball after some slapstick goalkeeping by Maritzburg United’s Virgil Vries. The two sides went 2-2 into the break through Ananias Gerbhart. Gerbhart put Namibia ahead just after the restart in a second half fraught with poor finishing by both sides. Neville Tjiueza cemented Namibia’s win in the 88th minute with an unstoppable volley on the rebound to dash Seychelles’ hopes of a major upset. 90% of the Namibian squad play in the local league while a few play in smaller South African clubs.
VERDICT: South Africa 6/10
Since 1998 Bafana have met Namibia three times, winning twice and drawing once. The Bafana team have some talented players who should get the job done in this match.