August 4, 2021

Bafana Bafana’s Mkhalele wants Kaizer Chiefs to reach Caf Champions League final and will release trio

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The former Orlando Pirates winger wants to see the Glamour Boys secure their place in the final for the first time

Bafana Bafana assistant coach Helman Mkhalele says he is open to releasing Kaizer Chiefs players for Caf Champions League duty, so that they bolster Amakhosi’s squad.

The 51-year-old tactician named Happy Mashiane, Siyabonga Ngezana, and Bruce Bvuma in his 20-man squad for the 2021 Cosafa Cup which is set to be staged in Gqeberha from July 6 to 18.

Chiefs will face either Egyptian football powerhouse Al Ahly or Tunisian giants Esperance de Tunis in this season’s Champions League final on July 17 if they defeat Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca on aggregate in their semi-final.

Amakhosi will carry a 1-0 aggregate lead into their second-leg clash against Wydad which will be played at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

“We have more players on standby just in case Chiefs proceed to the final, so we have players in place to fill in those gaps, not that we don’t wish Chiefs to go to the final, we want them in the final but now we will find ourselves in a situation whereby we have omitted Chiefs players,” Mkhalele told the media. 

“We have selected players based on our tactical plan that we want to apply, that is the main reason why we select players. So we felt that for our initial plan, we need these players, that’s why we included them but we have players that are there if Chiefs proceed to the final.”

The Cosafa Cup falls outside of the Fifa calendar, meaning clubs are not obliged to release players and Mkhalele is expected to take charge of Bafana in the absence of head coach Hugo Broos.

“For us right now we are in a position of saying that we will be communicating with players, requesting them and it will be up to the teams whether they want to release the players or not. If they refuse then we have to look for option B to select from the players that are on standby but definitely, I  believe that South Africa has huge talent,” he added. 

“It is so difficult to communicate with players to tell them that you are on standby as with some players it might work positively and with some, it might work negatively. We felt that we keep the list [of standby players] within ourselves and when the time arrives then we will just be in contact with that particular player.

South Africa have been pitted against Botswana, Eswatini, and Lesotho in Group A as they look to go all the way and clinch their fifth Cosafa Cup.