Ty on ten­ter­hooks

CityPress - - Sport - S’BUSISO MSELEKU sm­se­leku@city­press.co.za

South African striker Tyroane Joe Sandows, who plays for Brazil side Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Ale­grense, is a “very, very good player”, but may not make the team to the 2016 Rio Olympics, start­ing on Au­gust 5.

“He is def­i­nitely one for the fu­ture, but he might not make the team this time around,” said SA Un­der-23 na­tional coach Owen “Rub­ber Doll” Da Gama.

The coach said the dis­ad­van­tage with re­gard to Sandows, who was one of eight play­ers pro­moted from Thabo Senong’s Un­der-20 na­tional team, was lack of game time.

“As coaches, we are al­ways crit­i­cised for se­lect­ing play­ers who are not play­ing at their clubs and, un­for­tu­nately, Tyroane is one of those,” said Da Gama.

“He is a very good player, but his in­ac­tiv­ity may cost him his place in the squad go­ing to the Olympics.”

Da Gama said that, among the eight play­ers who were pro­moted with Sandows from the Un­der-20 to the Olympic team, most had fallen by the way­side due to in­ac­tiv­ity. There were two ex­cep­tions – Maphosa Modiba of Mpumalanga Black Aces and Tebogo Mo­er­ane of Bid­vest Wits – who were con­sis­tently ac­tive at their clubs.

“You also have the likes of Kea­gan Dolly (Mamelodi Sun­downs) and De­olin Mekoa (Mar­itzburg United), who are in ac­tion week in and week out,” Da Gama said.

The coach added that he still also had to de­cide on the three over­age play­ers to in­clude in the fi­nal squad.

The for­mer Moroka Swal­lows striker pointed out that Sandows had been part of the All Africa Games qual­i­fier squad which lost 2-0 away to Su­dan in March last year, and scored a 1-0 vic­tory over them at home the fol­low­ing month. “We no­ticed that while he was very good as an Un­der-20 player, he strug­gled with strength at Un­der-23 level – but he is def­i­nitely one for the fu­ture.”

Born in Jo­han­nes­burg on Fe­bru­ary 12 1995, Ty, as the striker is known to his peers, has been in Brazil since July 2007.

He first trav­elled to the São Paulo academy that has churned out the likes of Os­car, Lu­cas Pi­a­zon, Kaka and Lu­cas Moura in 2006, with 11 other tal­ented youths, as part of a pro­gramme called Shona Khona.

Af­ter mak­ing an im­pres­sion, he was in­vited by São Paulo Fute­bol Clube to spend a fur­ther 12 months the fol­low­ing year.

He was with their ju­nior teams un­til last year, when he moved to Grêmio to join their ju­niors in Jan­uary, and has been train­ing with the se­nior team since Novem­ber.

Grêmio were run­ners-up in the Copa do Brasil in 1995, un­der for­mer na­tional coach Luiz Felipe Sco­lari, and lost 1-0 to Corinthi­ans. At the club, the player is un­der the tute­lage of for­mer Brazil na­tional left back Roger Machado Mar­ques.

Sandows told City Press on Fri­day that he was still hop­ing to make the team to the Olympics.

“I am train­ing hard; any­thing can hap­pen,” he said.

Re­gard­ing his time with the team dur­ing the matches against Su­dan, he said: “It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence and I learnt a lot.”

He said that while he hoped to be se­lected for Rio, he had ac­cepted the fact that “every­body has their own opin­ions in foot­ball”.

He vis­its his par­ents and younger brother Ethan twice a year, and some­times the fam­ily vis­its him in Brazil.

Asked whether it would not be ad­van­ta­geous to have some­body used to Brazil’s cul­ture and con­di­tions in the team dur­ing the Olympics, Da Gama said: “It would, but it would also be un­fair to se­lect him ahead of play­ers who are con­sis­tently ac­tive at the high­est level.”


TRI­UMPHANT South African foot­baller Tyroane Sandows cel­e­brates a goal dur­ing a game be­tween Grêmio and Goiâ­nia


CON­FI­DENT Ge­orge Coet­zee says he will be in great form to de­fend his crown when the AfrAsia Bank Mau­ri­tius Open tour­na­ment tees off on Thurs­day MAU­RI­TIUS OPEN


COM­PAR­ING NOTES Tyroane Sandows (left) and for­mer Bafana Bafana striker Benni McCarthy

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