SA Under-23s invited to play in Toulon tournament

Owen Da Gama says South Africa have been invited to play in the annual Toulon tournament, and believes it would be perfect preparation for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games.

The national Under-23 coach, however, says the South African Football Association’s finance committee must still approve the trip.

The Toulon tournament is for Under-21 international sides, and this year’s edition takes place from May 18-29.

“Mexico will be there, Nigeria will be there, six countries that have qualified for the Olympics will be there so we are hoping to get a foot in,” said Da Gama.

“It is not confirmed it still has to go through the finance board, the CEO and so on, but we are hoping to get positive feedback. It would be unbelievable to get the opportunity to play six qualified countries. It would cover all our bases and we would get a good feeling as to where we are going.”

Da Gama added that South Africa would be taking over-age players to the Olympics in Rio – the Fifa rules permit the use of three players over the age of 23.

“Definitely … other countries will use it. I just spoke to some journalist from Brazil who said Neymar has confirmed that he is going to play. It is a big thing for Brazil after the World Cup. There is nothing wrong with us following that path. Most important an overage player must be someone who will not disrupt the Under-23 camp, someone who can bring in a lot of discipline and add a lot of leadership.”

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