Home Sport These youngsters will come back stronger says Mkhalele

These youngsters will come back stronger says Mkhalele

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Helman Mkhalele reckons his team will cope better with the nerves with the pressure off his youngsters, who were tasked with defending the title South Africa won last year.

Helman Mkhalele coach South Africa during the 2022 Hollywood bets Cosafa Cup Quarter Final match between South Africa and Mozambique at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi on the 13 July 2022 © Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

BAFANA Bafana’s youngest ever team, with an average age of just over 20, will take their Cosafa Cup quarter-final defeat on the chin and come back stronger.

That’s the message from South Africa coach Helman Mkhalele and midfielder Selaelo Rasebotja ahead of today’s 12pm Plate semi-final showdown against Madagascar at Durban’s Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium.

Mkhalele fielded many of SA’s Under-20 Amajimbos in Wednesday night’s 5-4 penalty-shootout defeat to Mozambique in Umlazi, but they still looked the side most likely to score as they played to a goalless draw against an experienced Mambas team.

After a game of few high-quality chances, Mkhalele reckons his team will cope better with the nerves with the pressure off his youngsters, who were tasked with defending the title South Africa won last year.

In a post-match interview on SuperSport, he says: “I’m proud of my boys, especially as young as they are under tough conditions – having to defend the cup.

“We knew there would be a risk that the nerves would get the better of them. It was great to see young players taking ownership of the game.”

Named Man of the Match on Wednesday, SuperSport United star Rasebotja believes his teammates will take their hiding like men.

And with a place in Sunday’s 11am Plate final up for grabs, the 21-year-old says: “We’re the youngest Bafana team to play in this tournament.

“We’ll learn from this. It was a big step up for the players in the team.”

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