14July 2022 – “This was good exposure to the lads as we continue to build towards the Under-23 2024 Olympic Qualifiers.”
This is according to coach Helman Mkhalele who stated that they were on the right track in preparing the next generation of SA Under-23 players that are to represent South Africa in the upcoming 2024 Olympic Qualifiers.
Mkhalele, who roped in Under-21 players for this year’s COSAFA Cup tournament currently taking place in Durban, said that this was the kind of exposure that his side needed, if they are to get them ready for the 2024 Under-23 Olympic qualifiers which will start in September.
Giving our Under-23 players the needed playing exposure, Mkhalele explained, will go a long way in helping South Africa qualify for their third in a row, Olympic Games.
“We came into this tournament with a plan of preparing the next generation of South Africa’s National Under-23 players for the upcoming 2024 Olympic Qualifiers,” Mkhalele said, following their 5-4 defeat on penalties in the quarter-finals against Mozambique following a 0-0 draw. “Both the FIFA and the CAF calendars do not cater enough fixtures for the national Under-23 teams and we took this tournament as a perfect opportunity to build for the qualifiers which will start in September.
“The lads demonstrated great hunger in that match, dominated play and unfortunately goals didn’t come our way,” Mkhalele added. “We lost that tie on penalties and we now shift our focus onto the Plate semi-final fixtures as we continue to build this next generation of SA Under-23 players.”
Bafana Bafana will now face Madagascar in the Plate semi-final scheduled for 15 July. That match will take place at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium at 12h00.