The South African Football Association have turned to a coach with recent HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Cup success to his name to lead their side in the 2023 competition that will be staged in Durban from July 5-16.
SAFA have appointed Morena Ramoreboli for the regional showpiece event, a return to the helm for a coach who lifted the trophy under extremely trying circumstances in 2021.
He was not the original pick back then, but when Bafana Bafana assistant coach Helman Mkhalele fell ill with COVID-19 – along with several of the team’s players – and number two Vela Khumalo broke his leg, Ramoreboli was thrust into the post as third choice just days before the competition started in Gqeberha.
He had to patch up the squad to make up for the ill players, drafting in whoever he could, some only arriving in camp as the games started.
In the end he did a remarkable job, leading the side to the trophy without conceding a single goal in their six games. They defeated Senegal on penalties in the decider.
Ramoreboli performed another minor miracle shortly afterwards when he took Botswana club Jwaneng Galaxy to the group stages of the CAF Champions League for the first time in their history.
And he was also in charge of the third-tier side Maluti FET College when they performed one of the greatest upsets in South African football history by beating Orlando Pirates 4-1 in the Nedbank Cup in 2013.
This is a coach who manages to eke out every ounce from players and gets them to perform above what is expected.
He will need those skills again with Bafana Bafana in a tough first round pool in the 2023 COSAFA Cup as they face Namibia (July 5), Botswana (July 8) and Eswatini (July 11), with only the top team in each pool automatically advancing to the semifinals.
Ramoreboli has football in his veins, he was just 18 when he started coaching his own local team in Bloemfontein.
He led various teams to promotion to the South African professional ranks and aside from working in Botswana, he has also coached in Lesotho before, so is well aware of the nuances of the region.
He has also been a coach at junior international level and led many players who went on to become household names at club level, such as current Pirates star Thembinkosi Lorch.