3 September 2019 — The match against Zimbabwe is one encounter South Africa’s National Under-23 side cannot afford to take lightly if they want to qualify for this year’s U-23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Egypt Edition.

This is according to National Under-23 captain, Tercious Malepe, who expressed that everybody in camp has been demonstrating the right attitude in training building up to Friday’s AFCON third and final round, first leg clash against neighbours Zimbabwe.

This match will kick-off at 19h00 at Orlando Stadium.

The Chippa United 22-year-old defender also admitted that the two legged matches against Zimbabwe are not going to be easy, however, they are determined to fight to the end to push for the desired results.

“We have a huge task that is ahead of us,” Malepe said. “However, what is most pleasing is that we have a majority of the players who featured in our 6-1 aggregate win against Angola, except for the few who could not form part of this camp due to injuries.

“Everybody looked very sharp in our first training session and the boys are just driven to push for a winning result in both two leg matches. We want to qualify for the upcoming U-23 AFCON tournament which doubles up as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifier as well. Our main target is to see this team competing in next year’s Olympics.”

Malepe, who was part of Owen Da Gama’s under-23 squad which competed in 2016 Rio Olympic Games, said that competing at the upcoming Olympics will serve as a perfect platform for both him and his teammates to be spotted by other big clubs abroad.

“If It can be anyone of us who are still playing here in South Africa, then that would be great. We have a few players who are already playing abroad in this squad, however, we still need more players going out of South Africa to compete in the big leagues of this world. Having more players moving abroad can only go on to benefit our national teams in the long run.”

Meanwhile, AS Monaco striker Lyle Foster, Leicester City midfielder Khanya Leshabela and Sporting Braga FC forward Kobamelo Kodisang arrived at the team hotel in Milpark this morning. The three will form part of coach David Notoane’ training session this afternoon as they continue with their preparations for this Friday’s first leg clash.