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Shakes Mashaba will take the strong team to Olympic qualifiers

THE South African Under 23 Men’s National Team, which will take part in the 2012 London Olympic Games qualifying tournament scheduled to be held in Morocco from November 26-December 10, will be represented by the strongest possible squad.

Following a positive meeting of the Joint Liaison Committee comprising members of both the South African Football Association (SAFA) and the National Soccer League (NSL) this week, it was agreed that the U23 technical team would get almost all the players they need.

The PSL clubs, during their Board of Governors (BOG) meeting, unanimously agreed to release the players requested. It was also agreed that National First Division clubs whose players are taking part in the tournament would have their games postponed. However, none of the PSL games will be rescheduled because of prior commitments to sponsors and other partners, Therefore postponing matches would have caused unnecessary disruptions on their programme.

So far almost all the clubs have provisionally released the requested players and the few outstanding clubs are expected to do so anytime soon. The squad leaves for Morocco tomorrow.

“Considering that this was not a FIFA sanctioned date, I would like to thank all for the spirit that prevailed at the meeting for the release of these players and the continuous cooperation from the League in the interest of national pride. I also want to wish the national team coach and the entire squad the best of luck in their quest to qualify for the Olympics next year,” said SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani.

Meanwhile, Orlando Pirates striker Bongani Ndulula will not be part of the squad after picking up an injury during the two friendly matches played by the U23 squad in Algeria.

South Africa has been drawn in a group comprising Gabon, Ivory Coast and Egypt. The Shakes Mashaba-led side  open their campaign with a match against Gabon on Saturday, 26 November.

 Group B Fixtures:

Time

Venue

27/11/2011

Egypt

v

Gabon

 

17h30

 

Marrakech

27/11/2011

South Africa

v

Cote d’Ivoire

 

20h30

 

Marrakech

30/11/2011

Gabon

v

South Africa

 

17h30

 

Marrakech

30/11/2011

Cote d’Ivoire

v

Egypt

 

20h30

 

Marrakech

03/12/2011

Egypt

v

South Africa

 

19h00

 

Marrakech

03/12/2011

Gabon

v

Cote d’Ivoire

 

19h00

 

Tangiers

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