South Africa will be gunning for maximum points when they battle Mozambique in the COSAFA Cup opening match this evening at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. The match will kick off at 18:00.

This year’s competition edition will be held in Gqeberha starting on 26 June with the final set to be played on 7 July. Bafana was knocked out by Zambia 2-1 in the semi-finals of the 2023 version of the competition. They last lifted the trophy in 2021 and are determined to win it for the sixth time.

Coach Helman Mkhalele advised his side not to take their opponents lightly adding that they are expecting a tough match with a side that will be highly motivated and fired up.

“We are aware of the challenge but looking at the players we have and the work that we have done in the last couple of days, I believe we are standing a good chance of doing well, even though it’s not going to be easy,” the coach said.

Mkhalele continued to express the importance of his side quickly settling down by solidifying things at the back and keeping the Mozambican attacks at bay. He said this would be achieved by maintaining maximum concentration and taking control of the game.

“We need maximum concentration, and make sure that we take the game to Mozambique. We have to create as many goal-scoring opportunities as possible and convert them. And defensively, we have to make sure that we don’t concede in the first few minutes because that would work against us. So, a positive early start would be our priority and making sure that each and every chance that we get, we make use of it because that will also help us to settle down very well,” the 54-year-old coach concluded

Bafana are in Group A with Botswana, Eswatini and Mozambique. These are formidable sides that have performed well in the competition and are expected to not make it easy for the hosts to progress to the next round.

Written by Siphesihle Soni