The new South Africa technical team will start planning for their opponents at the regional football competition
Bafana Bafana have been drawn in a Cosafa Cup group which includes Lesotho, Botswana and Eswatini.
This year’s tournament will be staged in Gqeberha from July 7 to 18 in what would be the 20th edition of the competition which has Senegal as guest participants this time.
None of Bafana’s Group A opponents has ever won the Cosafa Cup before while the hosts are four-time champions.
Interestingly, one of their group competitors Lesotho are under former South Africa assistant coach Thabo Senong who has already included in his squad three Premier Soccer League players.
Midfielders Tshwarelo Bereng of Marumo Gallants FC and Black Leopards’ Tumelo Khutlang as well as Bloemfontein Celtic forward Sera Motebang are in the Lesotho squad.
It is, however, Group C which appears to be the most difficult as it involves Zimbabwe, Senegal, Mozambique and Namibia.
It would be interesting to witness the clash between record champions Zimbabwe and Wafu Cup of Nations reigning champions Senegal.
No guest participants have ever won the Cosafa Cup and the Teranga Lions would be keen to break that record.
Another Group C contestant Namibia won the 2015 edition.
In Group B, defending champions Zambia will come up against Malawi, Madagascar and Comoros.
Madagascar became the latest team to confirm their participation while fellow Indian Ocean islanders Mauritius will be absent from this year’s edition.
This year’s Cosafa Cup has “a new format with the 12 teams split into three groups each containing four teams. This ensures each side will play a minimum of three matches,” according to Cosafa in a statement.
“The top team in each pool, as well as the best second-placed finisher, will advance to the semi-finals. There will be no Plate competition.”
This year marks the return of the Cosafa Cup after it was suspended last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Next month’s competition will see some teams using it to prepare for September’s Fifa World Cup qualifiers as Zimbabwe did in 2019 to gear up for the Africa of Nations finals.