Aubrey Ngoma has warned his young Bafana Bafana teammates that they will have targets on their backs at the Cosafa Cup.
The Cape Town City star says that, as defending champions of the southern African regional tournament, they will be the team to beat and rivals will be throwing everything at them.
Bafana kick off their campaign in the quarterfinals this Sunday in Phokeng against the winner of Group A, which consists of Tanzania, Angola, Mauritius and Malawi.
And the winger believes that the inexperienced squad has the talent to retain the title they won last year under Shakes Mashaba with new coach Stuart Baxter.
Ngoma says: “Teams will be looking at us as defending champions and hosts.
“The coach has selected a nice mixture [of youth and experience]. If we do what’s required by the coach, then I think we stand a good chance. We have a young squad.
“The coach said he is looking to bring in potential Bafana representatives.
“The boys who have been doing well for the U20s and U23s are here. It’s good that there’s continuity, so it’s good for the squad.”
At 27, Ngoma is the oldest player in the squad, but only he and Cape Town City teammate Judas Moseamedi, defender Lorenzo Gordinho and Tercious Malepe have senior-team caps coming into the tournament.
Baxter has named some promising players in his squad, including Ajax Cape Town goalkeeper Darren Johnson, Greece-based midfielder Lehlohonolo Masalesa and Sporting Lisbon striker Liam Jordan.
And after the season he had, the pressure will be on him to be the leader of the group.
His seven goals and 16 assists from the left wing saw him nominated for the PSL Players’ Player of the Year award.
He’s also a nominee for the Midfielder of the Season and the Telkom Knockout Player of the Tournament.