Owen Da Gama backs South Africa U-23 squad for Rio Olympics


Da Gama has roped in Bafana Bafana regulars Itumeleng Khune and Erick Mathoho as two out of the three allowed over-age players in the squad, which was announced on Thursday.

“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 over-age players, just so that we could make provision for another U-23 player,” said Da Gama.

“We would like to thank the association, the league 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 but we had to finally come up with a team that we believe will make us proud.”

SAFA 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 gone in preparing this team and we believe this will yield positive results in Rio,' reads a statement from the association.

'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 team soon.'

The rules of the competition provide for an additional four players to be on a standby list, should any of the 18-man squad 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 current Bafana coach Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba.
SA U-23 Men’s Fixtures:
Thursday 4 August
Brazil vs SA - 4 Aug
Mane Garrincha Stadium
16h00 (21h00 SA Time)
Sunday 7 August
Denmark vs South Africa
Mane Garrincha Stadium
19h00 (02h00 Monday, 8 Aug SA Time)
Wednesday 10 August
South Africa vs Iraq
Corinthians Arena
Sao Paulo
22h00 (03h00 Thursday, 11 Aug SA Time)
The SA U-23 squad for Rio Olympic Games:


1. Jody FEBRUARY                                        Ajax Cape Town FC (SA)

2. Itumeleng KHUNE                                      Kaizer Chiefs  FC  (SA)


3. Kwandakwensizwa  MNGONYAMA          Mamelodi Sundowns FC (SA)

4.Rivaldo COETZEE                                       Ajax Cape Town FC (SA)

5. Abbubaker MOBARA                                 Orlando Pirates FC (SA)

6. Mothobi MVALA                                        Highlands Park FC (SA)

7. Erick MATHOHO                                       Kaizer Chiefs FC (SA)

8.Tebogo MOERANE                                     Bidvest Wits FC (SA)

9. Tercious MALEPE                                      Orlando Pirates FC (SA)


10. Gift MOTUPA                                            Orlando Pirates FC (SA)

11. Maphosa MODIBA                                     Mpumalanga Black Aces FC (SA)

12. Deolin MEKOA                                          Maritzburg United FC (SA)

13. Keagan DOLLY                                           Mamelodi Sundowns  (SA)

14. Phumlani NTSHANGASE                          Bidvest Wits FC (SA)


15. Menzi MASUKU                                         Chippa United FC (SA)

16. Tashreeq MORRIS                                       Ajax Cape Town FC (SA)

17. Lebogang MOTHIBA                                   Lille F.C  (France)

18. Tyroane SANDOWS                                     Gremio FC (Brazil)

Additional Players:

1. Nkosingiphile GUMEDE                                 Golden Arrows FC (SA)

2. Andile FIKIZOLO                                            Golden Arrows FC(SA)

3. Thapelo MORENA                                           Bloemfontein Celtic FC (SA)

4. Thabiso KUTUMELA                                      Orlando Pirates FC (SA)