5 November 2019 – The South African U-23 Men’s Olympic Team has safely arrived in Egypt ahead of this year’s CAF U-23 Africa Cup of Nations kicking off this coming weekend.
David Notoane’s charges left South Africa on Monday, 4 November and landed in the North African country in the wee hours of Tuesday morning (5 November).
So determined is the squad that they will waste no time and will have their first training session later today on the grounds of their hotel base just to loosen up before they get into serious business from Wednesday.
Notoane has reported a clean bill of health on the 12 players he traveled with, adding that he is expecting a few more players to join his squad during the course of this week.
The South African U-23 Men’s National Team has been drawn Group B alongside Zambia, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
South Africa will first face Zambia on 9 November at the Al Salam Stadium at 20h00, before they lock horns with Ivory Coast on 12 November and Nigeria on 15 November – all matches will be played at the same venue.
A top three finish in this year’s continental showdown will guarantee South Africa a place in next year’s Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.
Notoane stated that this is one objective that he and his technical staff are highly driven to achieve for the country, despite the challenges they have been facing regarding player availability.
“We arrived in the early hours of Tuesday morning and we will only have our first training session here in Cairo later in the afternoon,” Notoane said. “We gave the players the morning off for them to get some rest and recharge their batteries before we get into the business of preparing for our first Group B match against Zambia.”
“I am also happy to state that we have no injury concerns from the players that we travelled with here,” Notoane added. “It is only Phakamani Mahlambi who, unfortunately, could not travel with the team due to an injury he got.
“A replacement will be named shortly once everything is finalized from an administration point of view.”