Bafana at the COSAFA Castle Cup

The team, under new coach Stuart Baxter, is hoping to become the first team in the competition’s 20-year history, to win the trophy five times, as they currently sit level with old foes Zambia and Zimbabwe on four titles each. brings you a rundown of their tournament history to date.

Having missed the inaugural tournament in 1997, Bafana Bafana entered the competition for the first time a year later, but suffered a shock 3-2 loss to Namibia in the opening round under coach Jomo Sono.
The match was played ahead of 1998 African Nations Cup finals, where Bafana would finish runners-up to Egypt, but despite fielding a strong team against the Brave Warriors, came unstuck.
Thabo Mooki and Phil Masinga were on the scoresheet, but Berlin Auchumeb netted an extra-time winner for the Namibians.
The South African side also included Brian Baloyi, David Nyathi, Mark Fish and Benni McCarthy. 

Bafana were knocked out by Namibia for a second year running, but not before beating Bostwana 2-1 in the opening round.
Dipsy Selolwane scored the opener for the Zebras in Gaborone, but Pollen Ndlanya and Maimane Phiri turned the tables in the favour Bafana.
That set up a quarterfinal in Windhoek, but after Ndlanya had given South Africa the lead, Congo Hindjou equalised for Namibia, who won the penalty shoot-out 4-1.

Patrick Mayo, Godfrey Sapula and Siyabonga Nomvethe netted in a 3-0 romp over Mauritius in the opening round, before a Delron Buckley brace saw Bafana glide past Swaziland 2-0 in the quarterfinals.
Kaitano Tembo, the current assistant coach at SuperSport United, netted a winner for Zimbabwe in the semifinals though as Bafana’s wait for a maiden trophy win went on.

Bafana had another comfortable first round win as they defeated Mozambique 3-0 thanks to goals from Ndlanya, Nkosinathi Nhleko and Clement Mazibuko, a match in which they were led by coach Shakes Mashaba with regular number one Carlos Queiroz having taken the first team to Europe for a friendly with Italy.
New Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach Patrick Mabedi netted a winner for Malawi in the quarterfinals though.

The long wait was over, but Bafana needed penalties to see off Botswana in the first round after a 0-0 draw, with a strong side that included Cyril Nzama, Matthew Booth, Thabang Molefe, Mbulelo Mabizela, Thabo Mngomeni, MacBeth Sibaya and the late Lesley Manyathela.
And they followed that up with another 0-0 draw ay home to Madagascar, but again came through the shoot-out to set up a semifinal with Swaziland.
Teboho Mokoena (two), Jabu Pule (now Mahlangu) and Stanton Fredericks all scored for Bafana in a romping 4-1 win.
That set up a two-legged final with Malawi and South Africa took a firm grip on the tie with a 3-1 away win in the first match Blantyre.
Patrick Mayo grabbed a brace and Jimmy Kauleza the other, with Mabedi again on target for the Malawians.
Benedict Vilakazi scored the only goal of the game in the return to ensure a 4-1 aggregate success for Bafana and their first COSAFA Castle Cup trophy.

A first round exit in the only ever Bafana match in charge for coach Konti Kubheka meant that South Africa’s defence of their title ended in a whimper. Lazarus Muhoni got the only goal for the Warriors in East London.

Bafana crashed out in the first round the next year too after a shock 2-0 loss to Mauritius in Curepipe. An own goal from the late Jacob Lekgetho and another strike from Christopher Perle sealed a famous win for the islanders.
Bafana had taken a weakened side, but still had Buckley, Benson Mhlongo, John Mosheou, Sibusiso Zuma and Patrick Mayo in their line-up.

The format of the competition changed this year with mini-group competitions involving four teams providing the semifinalists.
Katlego Mphela netted twice on debut to go with a goal from Lerato Chabangu as South Africa defeated Seychelles in their mini-group semifinal in Curepipe, and then beat hosts Mauritius with another strike from the 20-year-old Mphela.
Lungisani Ndlela and Abram Raselemane then netted in an epic competition semifinal that finished 2-2 with Zambia. Chipolopolo won the shoot-out 9-8 after Craig Bianchi saw his effort saved and Zambia goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene stepped up to slot the winning kick past opposite number Rowen Fernandez.
Bafana has coach Stuart Baxter in charge for this encounter.

A goal from Benson Mhlongo saw Bafana defeat Swaziland 1-0 in their mini-group semifinal in Gaborone, but after the final against hosts Botswana finished 0-0, the Zebras triumphed 6-5 in the shoot-out.
Fullback Siboniso Gaxa missed the decisive kick when his effort was saved by Botswana goalkeeper Modiri Marumo.

Bafana claimed the title for the second time after they won their mini-group semifinal with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out win over Malawi following a 0-0 draw, as goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs saved from Moses Chavula in Somhlolo.
A brace from Teko Modise then handed them a 2-0 win over Mauritius in the mini-group final, which set up a semifinal showdown in the main competition with Botswana.
An in-form Modise was again on target in a slender 1-0 success, before Bafana lifted the trophy under coach Carlos Alberto Parreira with a 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory following a 0-0 draw in Bloemfontein.
That side also contained the likes of Kagisho Dikgacoi, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Bernard Parker and Terror Fanteni. 

The format changed again to see the tournament played at a single venue over two weeks, on this occasion in Witbank and Secunda in South Africa. And the host retained their trophy for a third tournament win despite fielding what was termed a Presidents XI, made up mostly of fringe players at PSL clubs and players from the lower leagues who did not get caps for their appearances.
South Africa entered at the quarterfinal stage and Rooi Mohamutsa got the only goal as they defeated Namibia 1-0 in their pool opener, before ousting Zambia in the semifinals thanks to a goal from Lefa Tsutsulupa.
Marcelino Fransch bagged a brace in the final as they beat a full-strength Mozambique 2-1 with coach Serame Letsoaka in charge. 

South Africa again entered the competition in the quarterfinals with an understrength side as the tournament was hosted in Harare and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
Lennox Bacela and Oupa Manyisa netted the goals in a 2-0 win over Angola, before they dominated a semifinal with hosts Zimbabwe, but drew 1-1 and were beaten 3-2 on penalties. Bacela scored again for Bafana.
They were then beaten 1-0 in the play-off for the bronze medal to finish fourth.

The tournament was not staged again until 2013 and was hosted on this occasion by Zambia.
South Africa entered with a make-shift side under coach Gordon Igesund, receiving a bye into the quarterfinals where they beat Namibia 2-1 thanks to goals from Jabulani Shongwe and Hlompho Kekana.
They held Zambia to a 0-0 draw in a tense semifinal, but lost the shoot-out 5-3 after Lerato Chabangu missed his kick.
The team clinched the bronze medal this time though as thy beat Lesotho 2-1 in the play-off, with Mandla Masango and Kekana on the scoresheet.

The competition returned to South Africa in 2015, but the side disappointed as they lost their semifinal to Botswana 7-6 on penalties after a 0-0 draw. Kwanda Mngonyama missed the decisive kick.
They were held 0-0 again in the Plate semifinals by Malawi, and once more lost the shoot-out, with Marc van Heerden and Siyabonga Nhlapo missing their efforts.

South Africa won their fourth COSAFA Castle Cup title last year when the competition was hosted in Namibia, using an Under-23 side, along with goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse, to prepare for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
They came through a tough quarterfinal tie against Lesotho, winning 4-2 on penalties after Gift Motupa equalised for them in a 1-1 draw.
They trailed also in their semifinal against in-form Swaziland, but rallied in the second half to score five goals through Thabiso Kutumela, Lebogang Phiri, Menzi Masuku (two) and Judas Moseamedi.
That set up a final against a fired-up Botswana, and South Africa benefited from two penalty decisions to win 3-2. Motupa netted both those spot-kicks and Kutumela got the other goal.