Da Gama eyes Rio
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.
RED-HOT STRIKER Siphelele Ntshangase is confident the Under23 team will return with a victory