South Africa U-23s in camp

HARARE - South Africa's Under-23 team has already gone into camp as they begin preparations for a 2016 Olympic Games qualifier against Zimbabwe on July 19 at Rufaro Stadium.

The winner of the two-legged tie will compete at the African Under-23 Championships taking place in Dakar, Senegal from November 28 to December 15.

The top three teams in Senegal will qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It seems the South Africans are taking this tie seriously and are leaving no stone unturned to ensure their team is well prepared for this encounter.

On the other hand, the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) is not concerned with the Young Warriors' preparations for this encounter.

The Young warriors squad for this tie is likely to be named a few days before the match which has become the norm with Zifa in the last few weeks.

Coach Calisto Pasuwa and his charges will then spend less that a week in camp while preparing for this match like what transpired before the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Malawi.

It was also the same case with the 2016 African Nations Championship qualifier against the Comoros which saw Pasuwa and his players training for a limited period due to poor planning by Zifa.

In both instants, Zimbabwe prevailed through sheer determination and it seems to have left Zifa in a comfort zone with the belief that Pasuwa can do wonders even if he has little training time with his players.

However, one day the Young Warriors' poor preparations will be found out because football is a game that depends on a lot of preparation. 

South Africa Under-23 coach Owen Da Gama and his players will have spent at least 12 days in camp by the time they troop into Rufaro for the match.

This will give his side an edge over the poorly prepared Young Warriors on match day. Some of the big names in the South Africa Under-23 squad include Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Keegan Dolly and former  Baroka FC midfielder Gift Motupa, who recently signed for Soweto giants Orlando Pirates.  

Black Leopards striker Siphelele Nthangase, who has been linked with a big money move to Pirates or Sundowns in recent weeks, was also included in Da Gama's squad.

Nthangase has been in fine form in recent weeks as he scored a brace in Bafana Bafan's 3-0 first leg victory over Mauritius two weeks ago. 

Bidvest Wits have the biggest representation of all the clubs, with four players. The Clever Boys have defenders Tebogo Moerane,  Lukhele Mdluli and midfielders Phumlani Ntshangase and Abednigo Mosiathlaga in the side.

Goalkeepers: Steven Hoffman (Vasco Da Gama FC), Ricardo Goss (Golden Arrows), Nkosingiphile Gumede (Golden Arrows).

Defenders: Tshepo Rhikotso (Bloemfontein Celtic), Kwanda Mngonyama (Maritzburg United), Modisha Modjeka (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thabo Makhele (Witbank Spurs), Tebogo Moerane (BidVest Wits), Zitha Macheke (Kaizer Chiefs), Siyabonga Dube (Golden Arrows), Lukhele Mdluli (BidVest Wits).

Midfielders: Ayabulela Magqwaka (Ajax Cape Town), Phumlani Ntshangase (BidVest Wits), Abbubaker Mobara (Ajax Cape Town), Keagan Dolly (Mamelodi Sundowns), Riyaad Norodien (Ajax Cape Town), Thapelo Morena (Bloemfontein Celtic), Abednigo Mosiathlaga ( BidVest Wits).

Strikers: Siphiwe Kammbule (African Warriors), Gift Motupa (Orlando Pirates), Menzi Alson Masuka (Orlando Pirates), Siphelele Nthangase (Black Leopards), Andile Fikizolo (SuperSport United).

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