The South African Men’s Under-23 National Team has been drawn with hosts Senegal in Group A of the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations that will be played from 8 November to 12 December in Dakar and Mbour. The other teams in the group are Zambia and Tunisia. The draw which was conducted in Cairo, Egypt on Monday morning, 14 September also sees Egypt, Algeria, Mali and Nigeria compete in Group B.
Top three teams from the 8-Nations tournament will book a spot to the Rio Olympics next year. SA coach Owen Da Gama says: ‘Any draw was always going to be difficult. We have played Tunisia recently in friendly matches and surely they will come at us guns blazing. So it is a difficult draw but at least now we understand what we are up against. We have seen Zambia play, so it’s not the worst group that we have been drawn in because it could have been worse.’ Da Gama added now that the draw was over, it was time to up the preparations for the tournament: ‘Everything will depend on our preparations which need to be spot on. The onus is on us to go and work hard and ensure that we are ready for the tournament. We need to sit down with all stakeholders including clubs to make sure we don’t leave anything to chance going forward.’
The Under-23 mentor said he was confident that with proper preparations, his team had the capacity to make the country proud.