Da Gama eyes Rio

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

The na­tional Un­der-23 team could take ad­van­tage of the chaotic sit­u­a­tion in the Zim­bab­wean team this af­ter­noon.

Re­ports from Zim­babwe sug­gest that the Young War­riors camp is in chaos as some play­ers did not turn up while oth­ers are nurs­ing in­juries. But that will be ir­rel­e­vant when the neigh­bours meet in the first leg of the CAF Un­der-23 Cham­pi­onship qual­i­fier, which will be used as a qual­i­fier for the Rio Olympic Games next year.

Coach Owen Da Gama’s side will still face a tough test in the first leg at the Ru­faro Sta­dium.

Da Gama said in­ci­dents in the Zim­babwe camp would not change the team’s prepa­ra­tions. “We are brac­ing our­selves for a tough en­counter and are pre­par­ing to face their best. It is im­por­tant that we bring re­sults from the first leg and fin­ish off the job at home,” he said.

Da Gama is con­tent with the team de­spite be­ing with­out the Or­lando Pi­rates duo of Menzi Ma­suku and Gift Mo­tupa and Bid­vest Wits midfielder Phumlani Nt­shangase. He was con­fi­dent his team would do well. Red-hot striker Siphelele Nt­shangase, who scored two goals for Bafana Bafana against Mau­ri­tius a few weeks ago, was also con­fi­dent of find­ing the net. He said his game was com­ing to­gether. “I know what I can do and I be­lieve I have a lot to of­fer this team.

“I am al­ways con­fi­dent be­cause I know my po­ten­tial and from what I have seen in this team, we are com­ing back with a vic­tory,” said the Black Leop­ards striker.

Nt­shangase said he was very keen to play at next year’s Olympic Games in Rio. “We all know what is at stake and all the play­ers are rar­ing to go. It has been a good camp for us and we are ready,” he said.

The young South Africans have been in camp for two weeks and should be ready for their op­po­nents.

Da Gama has as­sem­bled a for­mi­da­ble side, which – on pa­per – should have no dif­fi­culty in deal­ing with the young War­riors.

How­ever, they should be wary of an ill­pre­pared Zim­babwe, who have Mamelodi Sun­downs midfielder Ku­dak­washe Ma­hachi and de­fender Kwanda Mn­gonyama, the man ex­pected to lead the team.

The win­ner of the two-legged tie will ad­vance to the last-eight CAF Un­der-23 Cham­pi­onships in Sene­gal in Novem­ber, where they will need to fin­ish in the top three to qual­ify for the Rio Olympics next year.

PHOTO: LEFTY SHIVAMBU / GALLO IM­AGES

RED-HOT STRIKER Siphelele Nt­shangase is con­fi­dent the Un­der23 team will re­turn with a vic­tory

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.