Bafana Bafana to look at youth ahead of bumper 2021 campaign, Newsline

JOHANNESBURG – South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan believes that a quick integration of the youth into the Bafana Bafana set-up will be crucial in the preparations for a congested 2021 calendar year.

Bafana have gone without competitive football for nearly a year.

South Africa’s last match was in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers – a 1-0 victory over Sudan at Orlando Stadium in November last year.

However, they are all but scheduled to dust off the cobwebs during the upcoming Fifa international break that’s scheduled from October 1 to October 13.

But their fate is still up in the air, and will likely be decided today, as they are still waiting for the approval from the Minister of Sport, Nathi Mthethwa, to go ahead with their scheduled friendlies – away against Namibia on October 8 and at home against Zambia on October 13.

This is after Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said that international travel is still prohibited on alert Level 1, although president Cyril Ramaphosa said the opposite during his address to the nation.

But nonetheless, should Safa get the green light from Mthethwa to play the two friendly matches, that could very well delay the start of the domestic season and Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki will need to consider a strong selection of young blood.

Next year, the Under-23 national team will take part in the postponed 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games, while Bafana have a busy year, considering they’ll play in the 2022 Afcon and 2022 Qatar Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

“If some of the young players get an opportunity, they’ll get a chance to help Bafana and the team that will play in the Olympics,” said Jordaan, stressing that young players such as Kgaogelo Chauke – who’s done well for Southampton development structures, probably deserve a chance in the Bafana set-up.

Bafana’s proposed two friendly matches against their Cosafa neighbours are scheduled to also get the domestic players back up to speed with international football, after the year-long hiatus.

The South Africans will return to their continental showpiece qualifiers with back-to-back clashes against Sao Tome and Principe, first at home on November 13 at FNB Stadium and three days later, away at the islanders.