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Five standout players from the 2021 COSAFA Cup group stage

The 2021 COSAFA Cup group stage showcased plenty of talent from Southern Africa’s regional competition and now will start its knockout stage on Friday. Take a look at who Pan-Africa Football identifies as the young talents who have boosted their names as well as a couple of established players who are on the search for new clubs.

Dominique Mendy – Senegal (Génération Foot)     DOB: 17 December 1999

Senegal brought a young squad that is entirely domestic-based, but the team’s success in advancing out of the group stage reflects how the country continues to produce talent at all levels. Dominique Mendy has been the centerpiece of the Teranga Lions this tournament, bringing combative tackling ability along with technique in the center of midfield. The Génération Foot player is the most complete young prospect at this tournament and is also a set piece expert as well as an enforcer.

Ernane Siluane – Mozambique (Ferroviário de Maputo)     DOB: 7 September 1999

Mozambique, like Senegal, brought a squad that emphasizes youth and is mostly based in the country’s domestic league, the Moçambola. The Mambas only allowed one goal through the group stage, making their defense second to hosts South Africa but successfully navigating a much more difficult group. 21-year-old goalkeeper Ernane Siluane came up with a couple of highlight reel saves, but his distribution on long kicks stood out just as much as his sure hands. Check out a couple of his best reflex saves followed by several moments of excellent distribution below.

Ethan Brooks – South Africa (TS Galaxy)     DOB: 22 November 2001

As is usually the case at the COSAFA Cup, Bafana Bafana use the opportunity to identify upcoming players from the Premier Soccer League who can challenge for spots on the full team later on. Since making his debut in a friendly against Uganda in early June, midfielder Ethan Brooks has been the highlight of South Africa’s new wave of players and established himself as the star of the team in the COSAFA Cup before injury ruled him out for the final two group stage games. Brooks plays the ball quickly, shoots forward in possession to cover plenty of ground and finds attackers with his passing.

Tumelo Khutlang – Lesotho (Black Leopards)     DOB: 23 October 1995

Khutlang is well known in Lesotho as one of the country’s stars when he performs for the Likuena. Bringing speed and dribbling ability, Khutlang is one of the most explosive players at the tournament and was a big reason why Lesotho looked capable before the team folded in the final group stage games due to defensive meltdowns. The 25-year-old played for Black Leopards this past season in South Africa’s top division, featuring over 30 times before the club was relegated this past season. Take a look at the moments of excitement Khutlang produced during the group stage below:

Thatayaone Kgamanyane – Botswana (Gaborone United)     DOB: 30 January 1996

Like Khutland with Lesotho, Kgamanyane is an established star with the Zebras of Botswana who has enjoyed success at this tournament before. The playmaker is excellent at escaping tight spaces and moves forward with speed when in possession, finishing the group stage tied at the top of the scoring charts with three goals. With past experience in South African football at Chippa United, Kgamanyane will be looking to score another move abroad after long stretches of dominance in his country’s domestic scene.

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