After running every year from 1997 to 2009, the Southern African regional competition has taken place just three times since then, including this year’s event in Namibia. The organisers had problems with host nations and finding a sponsor until 2015, when Castle Lager jumped on board again. Still, Bafana ought to have captured more than the three titles they have managed over the years.
Today’s final of the 2016 Cosafa Cup against Botswana offers Shakes Mashaba’s side a chance to improve those statistics and even a mostly under-23 side should have too much for the Zebras. The tournament is being used partly as preparation for the Rio Olympics in August, but one shouldn’t read too much into success in Botswana in terms of hopes of glory in Brazil.
It is by no means disingenuous to suggest that Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana are way behind the level South Africa will face in Brazil, in a group containing the hosts, Iraq and Denmark.