SA Under-23 Soccer Team Maps out Preparations Ahead of Olympics



The South African Under-23 men’s national team will face Bidvest Wits in a practice match – the last before the squad jets off to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games scheduled to start early next month.

Owen da Gama’s charges and Wits meet on Monday at Milpark Stadium.

The national team will then go on a two-day break before returning to camp on Thursday, July 21 to start the final phase of preparations.

Meanwhile, Kaizer Chiefs duo of Itumeleng Khune and Erick Mathoho have reported for camp and joined their teammates at training on Sunday, July 17 at the Benoni Sports Grounds.

Khune and Mathoho are the two over-aged players selected to be part of the SA U23 Olympic Team.

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“First of all, it is still an honour to selected to this team, I would like to thank the technical team for giving me the opportunity to be one of the participants at the world’s biggest spectacle. I am at a loss for words but would just like to say that I will do my best whenever I am called upon to represent my country.”

“I just hope my experience and that of Mathoho will take this team to greater heights, whether we play or not,” said Khune.

“As for the training session, it was a bit tough for me as we have just returned from recess and were still busy with pre-season training at our club. But looking at the rest of the teammates I can see their fitness levels are high and we will have to work harder to get to their level.”

Khune has already played in a World Cup tournament, and this will be his second major event.

Mathoho would also like to see this team go far.

“I concur with Itu, it really is an honour to be part of this team. I would never have imagined playing in the Olympics but thanks to the technical team I have been considered. I would like to see this team achieves its objectives in the Olympic Games and I will do my best to see that happens, whether I am on the field or not,” said Mathoho.

“We had a great training session with the team and the players are looking unbelievably good which inspires confidence to all.”

The SA Under-23 Men’s National Team, along with Banyana Banyana will be handed over to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) later this week to be part of Team South Africa going to Brazil.

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