Coach of the South African u23 National Team, Owen da Gama, has named the squad to represent the country at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games scheduled to start next month.
Da Gama has roped in the experienced Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana duo of goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and defender Eric Mathoho.
He has also included the overseas-based Lebogang Mothiba of Lille in France and Tyroane Sandowns who plays for Gremio in Brazil.
Da Gama is confident that the players he has selected will write their names in the book of history.
“The technical team is very pleased with the balance in the squad, and the fact that we have five or six versatile players makes the squad stronger. We felt it necessary to limit the number of overage players, just so that we could make provision for another u23 player,” said Da Gama.
“We would like to thank the Association, the PSL and everyone who assisted us in putting together what we believe is a formidable team that will hold its own and represent South Africa well in Brazil. It was not an easy decision to make as there were many players who raised their hands, but we had to finally come up with a team that we believe will make us proud.”
The South African Football Association has called on South Africans to support the team.
“We would like to congratulate all the players who have been selected for this all-important assignment. It gives us great pleasure and pride to see the good work that has been done in preparing this team and we believe this will yield positive results in Rio. Now that the speculation is over about who will represent South Africa, we call on all South Africans to be behind this team as their success will lead to Bafana Bafana’s success. Most of these players will be in the senior national team very soon and we are hopeful that with the experience they will get at the tournament, they will help Bafana Bafana go back to the top, where they belong. All the best to the entire squad,” said SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan.
The rules of the competition have made provision for an additional four players to be part of the squad that travels to Brazil. These players are on the standby list and will be called upon should any of the first 18 players get injured.
South Africa is in Group A alongside hosts Brazil, Iraq and Denmark.
South Africa last participated in the Olympic Games in 2000 under the leadership of Ephraim “Shakes”Mashaba who is currently the Bafana Bafana head coach.
Source: South African Football Association