Mkhalele’s side failed to defend the title that SA won last year, being knocked out by Mozambique in the quarterfinals.
Some have labelled the group a Bafana ‘C’ team, something Johannes refuses to entertain.
“Look, I was about to tell you now this is Bafana,” Johannes said.
“We are Bafana because if you look at it, these are the guys that will represent the country in the next five years to come.
“This is Bafana and we are obviously working on building that relationship among one another as players.”
During his few press conferences in Durban, Mkhalele said they opted to bring in youngsters, most of whom are yet to make a break in their senior clubs, with the aim of preparing the U23 team for the Olympic Games qualifiers in September.