South Africa blend youth and experience in squad

South Africa coach Stuart Baxter has announced his squad for the 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup, selecting a raft of up-and-coming talents to go with more established internationals.

The regional championship hosts open their campaign against the winner of Group A on July 2, with Angola, Malawi, Mauritius and East African guest nation Tanzania among their potential opponents.

Defender Tercious Malepe, midfielder Lebogang Phiri and striker Judas Moseamedi all lifted the trophy with the side last year in Namibia and return for the defence of their title.

Added to that there are players with experience such as defenders Mario Booysen and Lorenzo Gordinho, who recently made his Bafana Bafana debut against Zambia, and midfielders Mandla Masango, Lehlohonolo Masalesa and Aubrey Ngoma.

A number of players who competed in the recent FIFA Under-20 World Cup in South Korea have also been named, including Sandile Mthethwa, Thabo Cele and striker Liam Jordan.

Baxter will hope for some instant success with the national team in the tournament, but front of mind is widening the pool of national team players for World Cup, African Nations Cup and African Nations Championship qualifiers on the horizon this year.

South Africa squad:

Goalkeepers: Darren Johnson (Ajax Cape Town), Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs), Baolefa Pule (SuperSport United)

Defenders: Thendo Mukumela (Mamelodi Sundowns), Sandile Mthethwa (Orlando Pirates), Mothobi Mvala (Highlands Park), Mario Booysen (SuperSport United), Tercious Malepe (Orlando Pirates), Innocent Maela (Thanda Royal Zulu), Lorenzo Gordinho (Kaizer Chiefs)

Midfielders: Thabo Cele (Real Clubbe FC), Lebogang Maboe (Maritzburg United), Sibongakonke Mbatha (Bidvest Wits), Nduduzo Sibiya (Golden Arrows), Mandla Masango (SuperSport United), Lehlohonolo Masalesa (Larrissa), Lebogang Phiri (EA Guingamp), Aubrey Ngoma (Cape Town City)

Forwards: Liam Jordan (Sporting Lisbon), Judas Moseamedi (Cape Town City)