Head coach of the South African under-23 Men’s National Team, Owen Da Gama, has had a busy start to 2016 as he prepares for the highly anticipated Olympic Games to be held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in August this year. South Africa qualified for the Rio Olympics after finishing third in the 8-Nations tournament that took place in Senegal from November to December 2015. Nigeria and Algeria came first and second respectively.
The South Africans last participated in the prestigious Games in 2000 and will be looking to make a statement in South America. With the Absa Premiership averaging 10 matches a week, ODG has had a busy January watching as many matches as possible to monitor the current under-23 crop of players and scout new talent. Da Gama says: ‘The technical team and I have been watching all PSL, NFD and ABC Motsepe matches from the week we came back home from the CAF under-23 AFCON in December last year. Immediately after we qualified in Senegal we said that hard work starts now and we cannot afford to rest on our laurels, hoping for a good performance in Rio. Most players are raising their hands by showing that they also want to be part of the Olympic team. With all the quality we have seen thus far, we are confident that we will take a very strong, competitive and exciting team to Rio. The players are making it difficult for us to us pick the final team, but that is a good headache to have. We have said before we will not take passengers to the Olympics as we do not want to make up the numbers, we want to compete.’