Hosts and reigning COSAFA Cup champions South Africa will get their title challenge underway in Durban next month when they take to the field against the region's best in the 2022 edition of the competition.
A preliminary squad of 32 players have already gathered ahead of the tournament where Bafana Bafana assistant coach Helman Mkhalele will be taking charge of the team in head coach Hugo Broos' stead.
The squad consists entirely of U23 players who have chosen to represent South Africa at this year's COSAFA Cup and Mkhalele revealed that he has been impressed with what he has seen from the collection of youngsters.
"The training session went well and the players responded well. The attitude and work ethic of the boys was amazing to observe," he told the SAFA media team.
"This is especially so when you look at the situations from which they are coming from, in relation to pre-season training, some of them only started yesterday and others two days ago.
"In terms of the quality, we are still going to assess because at the end of the day, we need to make a final decision on which players are going to be in the last 23.
"Each and every game that we play as Bafana Bafana, we play to win. There is no difference as we are going to defend the title, but at the same time, we have an eye toward building for the future.
"In the next couple of months, Bafana Bafana will be playing the qualifiers for the AFCON and the U23s will be playing qualifiers for the Olympics that will be in France in 2024.
"So, we're making sure that we are starting to prepare now and now weeks before the actual tournaments