Ty on tenterhooks
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