Tshepo Ntsoelengoe
Football Writer
2 minute read
5 Nov 2020
4:01 pm

SA Under-23s prepare for Tokyo 2021 with Saudi Arabia friendlies

Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

South African Under-23 coach David Notoane is looking at using the two friendly matches against Saudi Arabia as part of his selection process ahead of Tokyo Olympic Games next year. 

David Notoane. Pic: BackpagePix)

The Under-23 team qualified for the Olympics after they finished third in the Caf Under-23 Afcon.

Notoane is pleased seeing Kaizer Chiefs pair of Njabulo Blom and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo getting regular first team football, as well as Sibusiso Mabiliso of AmaZulu FC.

Zakhele Lepasa of Orlando Pirates, Lelethu Skelem of Stellenbosch FC, Keletso Makgalwa of Mamelodi Sundowns are among some players called into the squad who have also been getting game time in their respective first teams.

“I am very happy that we can finally get our preparations for next year’s Olympic Games underway, after the team had been inactive for quite some time due to the Coronavirus pandemic,” Notoane was quoted as saying on Safa.net.

“We have roped in some new young talent and we would like to see how they will perform in the Under-23 level from junior national team ranks. Players like Njabulo Blom, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and Sibusiso Mabiliso are players who have done extremely well in the National Under-20 set-up and are also part of first team football action in their respective clubs.”

“We truly believe that these two friendly matches will give us the information that we need, as we continue with the process of identifying the right talent to work with building up to next year’s Olympics.”

Adding to that, Notoane also noted that seeing players graduating from the national Under-20, to the Under-23 and now Bafana Bafana says something about development in the country and it can only be beneficial in the long run.

“I am happy to see players like Reeve Frosler, Teboho Mokoena and Luther Singh being roped into the senior national team,” Notoane added.

“They were a part of our Under-23 players which were called upon for assessment in Bafana Bafana’s two friendly matches against both Namibia and Zambia leading up to these two Afcon qualifiers. I am glad that coach Molefi Ntseki saw something in them, following his decision to bring them in to form part of his final Afcon qualifier squad. Such synergy could only go on to benefit the country’s football in the long run.”

The squad will assemble for camp in Johannesburg on 7 November before departing to the Middle East three days later.

The two games are set for 14 November and 16 November.

Meanwhile, the Olympics Games were set to play this year (2020), but due to the Coronavirus, they had to be postponed for 2021.

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