Mkhalele confident his young squad will deliver against Botswana

Bafana Bafana assistant coach, Helman Mkhalele is confident his young squad will do well and deliver gold for the team in the Cosafa Cup which starts on Tuesday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Bafana kick-off their campaign against neighbouring country Botswana‚ in the group stages. Also in Group A in an earlier fixture‚ will see Eswatini play Lesotho‚ at 2pm kick-off time.

With the men’s senior national team head coach, Hugo Broos still in his homeland of Belgium and waiting to receive his second Covid-19 jab‚ Mkhalele is expected to oversee the first-team affairs for the Cosafa tournament. The former Bafana star held his first training session with the players on Sunday just to familiarise the players with their new surrounds.

“We had our first training session on and it went well. We made sure that we play around the game time which will be 5pm. Our purpose was to make sure the boys adapt to play against the wind‚ because the wind starts around the late afternoon. The new players struggled a little bit but over time I believe that by the time we play our first match they would have adapted to the team’s philosophy,” said Mkhalele.

“I am confident enough‚ because you could see the hunger amongst the players and you also look at the attitude of the new players you could see that they really welcomed the call up even though it was late. So for as the coach to see that amongst the young players I get that joy and sense of belief that the team can do well in the group stages. Of which is it’s not going to be easy but when I look at the attitude of the players as well as the technical plan I believe that we will do well‚” the coach said.

Although absent‚ Mkhalele said he was in communication with coach Broos every day on how they should prepare the team. He said their main vision is to make sure that they build a very strong team that can be competitive especially in the Cosafa tournament and going forward a team that will be competitive in the qualifiers.

“So for us here our vision is to make sure first and foremost since we are here participating in the Cosafa tournament‚ our first goal is to go out there and win the tournament so that‚ that can build our momentum going to the qualifiers. Because once we have won gold, I believe I believe that it will go a long way into inspiring not only the current players that we have also other players who wants to represent our country at a national level‚” Mkhalele said.

Sport‚ Recreation‚ Arts and Culture MEC‚ Fezeka Nkomonye is excited that the Eastern Cape will be host the Cosafa tournament and said the provinces economy will benefit.

“We took a decision to support the tournament with logistics so as to make sure it takes off in the Eastern Cape. We strongly feel we stand to gain more if this tournament is held here in the province as this does not only speak to the sporting sector‚ but the entire economic value chain of the province. We are talking about over ten countries that have converged in the province‚ in our BnB’s‚ buying food and all other things they will need during their stay‚ that is money coming into the province at a time where businesses are suffering the most‚ especially the tourism sector,” said Nkomonye.

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