South Africa stars benefit from the COSAFA Under-20

The COSAFA Under-20 Championship has always been a fantastic breeding ground for young talent from the Southern African region and the 2017 edition in Zambia from December 6-16 will be no different.

Last year the tournament helped to launch the careers of a number of stars from across the region, including South Africa, who saw a number of their stars move on to bigger things as a result.

Here are three that benefitted from the exposure they received in the 2016 championship played in South Africa.

LUTHER SINGH (SPORTING BRAGA, PORTUGAL)
Since Luther Singh starred as the top-scorer at the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championships he has gone on to play for the senior national team as well and win a dream move to Sporting Braga in Portugal.

The winger/forward is blessed with great pace and trickery, and has an eye for goal as he showed in the regional championship.

At the time he had just left Swedish second-tier side GAIS, but his performances caught the eye of a number of scouts and he was soon part of the set-up in Braga, where he has made steady progress, initially with the B team.

SIBONGAKONKE MBATHA (PLATINUM STARS)
The diminutive Mbatha shone at the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championships with his hard-working displays in midfield and he has now made his breakthrough at South African Premier Soccer League side Platinum Stars.

The 19-year-old built on his performances at the regional showpiece to play at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in South Korea, and also for the senior national side at the 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup.

He is now displaying his talent in the PSL with Stars, where he has been putting in some fantastic displays despite being among the smallest players in the league.

ITUMELENG SHOPANE (CAPE TOWN ALL STARS)
The forward showed what a useful competitor he is with some sparkling displays in the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championships that made plenty sit up and take notice.

He has since made a move to ambitious National First Division side Cape Town All Stars, where he has become a regular and continues to grow and develop as a player.

Shopane is strong and agile, and appears to have a fantastic career ahead of him if he can stay fit and continue to develop.