The Cosafa Cup has always presented an opportunity for talent bubbling under to stake their claim as potential Bafana Bafana regulars.
The biggest challenge for the Southern African tournament has been that it is played outside of Fifa dates allocated for international matches.
Bafana coaches have all struggled to get players released by their clubs, and when there was a plan, Safa happened and the plan would crash and we always have to start all over again and again and again.
Former Bafana coach Stuart Baxter tried to create a plan in his first stint when he took a squad of exciting young South African players to the 2005 tournament in Mauritius.
It took a lot of negotiations with clubs, but he was able to get the likes of Matthew Booth and Robyn Johannes at the time, who were both seasoned youth internationals and captained the U20 and U23 national teams.
Lerato Chabangu, who was a hotshot in the NFD, was also included alongside other exciting attacking talent such as Katlego Mphela, Sandile Ndlovu and Thando Mngomeni. There were others too.
The ouens won both of their Group A matches, beating the Seychelles 3-0 and following that up with a 1-0 win over the hosts the next day.
Mamelodi Sundowns’ Steve Komphela, who was Baxter’s assistant at the time, was given a chance to be in charge of the team by the head coach, with the aim of also developing his coaching at international level.
Baxter would oversee, which made sense as Komphela had worked with most of the players when he was the U20 Amajita coach.
There was no beef or interference, it was a good idea to groom the coach and players and build squad depth for qualification for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups as well as the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
However, Baxter and Komphela couldn’t see their vision through as Bafana were knocked out in the semi-finals by Zambia.
They were both fired later that year with Komphela taking over the U23s and Baxter left to rebuild his career in Sweden.
At the 2007 Cosafa tournament, an exciting attacking midfielder named Teko Modise would steal the headlines with his performances and goals that helped the South African team to the title.
“The Navigator” was also named Player of the Tournament and would go on to become a key player for Bafana all the way through to the 2010 World Cup.
Siphiwe Tshabalala was also in the 2007 group and he too would go on to make a name for himself with a historic goal in the opening game of 2010.
Gqeberha was the place where a bunch of stand-in players and their stand-in coach Morena Ramoreboli went all the way to the champions’ podium.
With assistant coach Helman Mkhalele and new head coach Hugo Broos unavailable, Ramoreboli guided the group all the way through the tournament without conceding a single goal.
With the battle for the number one Bafana jersey still in question, AmaZulu’s Veli Mothwa who was also the captain of the side and young Lincoln Vyver from Cape Town Spurs have without a doubt given coach Broos something to think about.
Rushine de Reuck and Njabulo Ngcobo were solid together as partners in the heart of the Bafana defence, while the likes of Ethan Brooks, Siyethemba Sithebe and Yusuf Maart did the business in midfield and have the Man of the Match awards to show for it.
Again, there were others, like striker Victor Letsoalo who won the Golden Boot award.
The takeaway here is that the signs of success are there for South Africa.
But it will all happen by chance and luck without a plan and continuity of players coming through the different systems.