Teko Modise & Top 5 players who used COSAFA to launch Bafana Bafana careers

Belittled by some, the COSAFA Cup has nonetheless provided a valuable platform for many players to showcase their abilities on the national stage. Here's a look at top five South African players who used this regional competition to launch their careers with Bafana Bafana.

The COSAFA Cup, as always, returns this year. The 2024 edition is currently ongoing in Gqeberha, having begun on 26 June and will run until 7 July.

Helman Mkhalele is in charge of Bafana Bafana this time around having missed out last year due to a lack of required coaching licence.

He unveiled his final squad last week. This gives the players a chance to prove their value in the national team jersey and potentially catch the eye of Hugo Broos for selection to the senior team.

MODISE & 5 PLAYERS WHO LAUNCHED BAFANA CAREERS THROUGH COSAFA

1 – Teko Modise

Tiny yet immensely gifted midfielder, Modise terrorised teams in the 2007 COSAFA Cup. This tournament marked his international debut as he took to the field for South Africa against Malawi for the first time.

Modise emerged as the tournament's catalyst. He found the net during the group stage in a 2-0 victory over Mauritius and again in the final, where his solitary goal secured a 1-0 win for Bafana Bafana against Botswana.

South Africa ultimately emerged victorious, defeating Zambia on penalties in the final.

His performances caught the eye of national team coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who subsequently made Modise a regular selection for the senior team. Modise went on to represent South Africa at the 2008 AFCON in Ghana and played was one of the key players for Bafana during the 2010 FIFA World Cup held on home soil.

2 – Nyiko Mobbie

Among the players in the Bafana Bafana squad that won the 2021 COSAFA Cup, Mobbie has arguably enjoyed the most successful transition to the senior national team.

He impressed in the right-back position, contributing to Bafana's COSAFA success under the leadership of Morena Ramoreboli.

Broos, still evaluating players in 2021, was particularly impressed by Mobbie's performances. This earned the Sekhukhune United defender a regular starting spot at right-back until the coach identified Khuliso Mudau as the first-choice option.

Mobbie was part of the squad that played AFCON in Ivory Coast earlier this year.

3 –  Veli Mothwa

The year Hugo Broos took the helm of the South African national team coincided with Veli Mothwa’s chance to shine. At the 2021 COSAFA Cup in Gqeberha, Mothwa seized the opportunity. 

His debut came against Botswana on July 6th, where he kept a clean sheet in a narrow 1-0 victory for South Africa. Mothwa then solidified his hero status by saving a crucial penalty in the COSAFA Cup final against Senegal, securing the trophy for the nation.

This outstanding performance earned him the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award, a testament to his key role for Bafana Bafana. Now a regular under coach Broos, Mothwa was part of the South African squad that participated in the recent AFCON tournament.

4 – Monnapule Saleng

Just like Mobbie, Saleng emerged as a valuable asset during the 2021 COSAFA Cup. While still a relatively unknown player, he had recently signed for Orlando Pirates from Free State Stars.

His impressive performances at the COSAFA Cup put him on the map before his debut season in the top flight, where he was loaned out to Moroka Swallows.

The following year, upon returning to his parent club Pirates, Broos began including him in the national team selections. However, a recent dip in form has seen him fall out of contention for a place in the squad.

5 – Ethan Brooks

Ethan Brooks, now an AmaZulu midfielder, was part of the successful 2021 COSAFA Cup squad while still playing for TS Galaxy.

Despite his youth and inexperience, he played a pivotal role alongside Mamelodi Sundowns' Sphelele Mkhulise, solidifying the team's midfield.

His impressive performance caught the eye of coach Hugo Broos, leading to five call-ups for the senior national team during the AFCON qualifiers.

However, his initial struggles at AmaZulu resulted in him losing his place in the Bafana squad. Now that he's established himself at the KwaZulu-Natal club, he could potentially reclaim a spot in Broos' team.

6 – Iqraam Rayners

The Stellenbosch talisman was given a chance to put on the Bafana shirt at 2023 COSAFA Cup held in Durban.

The focal point of the attack, Rayners found the net in the group stage match against Botswana. Beyond his goal-scoring prowess, he also contributed significantly by creating opportunities for Morena Ramoreboli’s side.

Rayners has recently become a regular for the senior national team, even netting two goals in his last three Bafana Bafana matches.

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Nkosiyabuya Sithole

Nkosiyabuya Sithole, a young and rising sports journalist based in Durban, South Africa, harbors a deep passion for football. Nevertheless, he aspires to become a well-rounded journalist, adept in various areas of the field.

Nkosi's career began in 2020, working as a home-based writer during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has since written for various websites, including Briefly News, FiND-iT News, and The South African. Attending live sporting events is a particular pleasure for him, as they provide opportunities for interaction with sports personalities.

Outside of the office, he's a God-fearing and affable young man.