South Africa’s participation in the upcoming U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal may mean another extended PSL break, but the league’s acting CEO Mato Madlala sees the bigger picture.

South Africa’s participation in the upcoming U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal may mean another extended PSL break, but the league’s acting CEO Mato Madlala sees the bigger picture.

Madlala has urged South Africans to rally behind the U-23 side as they make the trip to Senegal with the hope of securing a place in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Madlala said the success of the SA U-23 side – which comprises of players from the PSL and National First Division – is important for the entire country.

“On behalf of all the members of the NSL, we would like to wish coach Owen Da Gama and his players the best of luck ahead of what will be a testing campaign,” Madlala said.

“We trust that they are prepared for the task that lies ahead. The success of the U-23s is very important for our football as we strive towards reclaiming the number one spot in African football.

“I’m delighted to see that at both club and national team level, our country is now well represented in continental competitions.

“As the PSL, our support for the U23s has not only been lip service. As part of the agreement between the PSL Chairman and SAFA President, we have suspended all Premier Division and National First Division fixtures to ensure that the coach has the full complement of the players he wants to select for this mini tournament.”

The top three teams from the eight-team tournament in Senegal will qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

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