Home Sport Soccer SA Under-23s lay foundation for youth Afcon and Olympics

SA Under-23s lay foundation for youth Afcon and Olympics

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Singh, who burst into the youth national team structures with the Under-20s (Amajita) had been tipped to don the senior national team jersey

Luther Signh of South Africa during the 2017 Total Zambia U-20 African Cup of Nations Zambia match between Zambia and South Africa at Heroes National Stadium, Lusaka Zambia on 08 March 2017 ©Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The winning foundation laid by South Africa’s Under-23 football team in the preliminary round of the 2019 Caf eight nations tournament qualifiers will be pivotal in their quest to book their spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

In the first round of the continental qualifiers, South Africa hammered Angola 6-1 on aggregate to give themselves a huge morale-booster building up to the last round against Zimbabwe in June.

Qualifying for the youth Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt will be a positive step for David Notoane’s troops. They’ll need a top three finish to qualify for a successive Olympic Games berth, having played in the last edition in 2016 in Brazil.

Against Angola, South Africa scored three goals in each leg – first in Luanda, before they finished the job on Tuesday at home at Bidvest Stadium. In both ties, Portugal-based Luther Singh (pictured) produced match-winning performances.

Singh, who burst into the youth national team structures with the Under-20s (Amajita) had been tipped to don the senior national team jersey.

However, he found himself hopping from one club to another, instead of churning out performances that would give Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter food for thought. But with Bafana scheduled to play in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in June, the 21-year-old still has a few weeks to make an impression on the Englishman, who’s already given a youngster such as Teboho Mokoena a senior team run.

This ruthless performance by his team has given coach Notoane a breather from his naysayers who lamented the exclusion of Tshegofatso Mabasa, who’s on nine league goals, trailing the top scorer Mwape Musonda by three strikes.

Notoane and his assistant coach Kwanele Kopo’s gamble of playing their usual guns from Pretoria – Mokoena, Kamohelo Mahlatsi and Jamie Webber – has paid off so far.

The trio played a key role in the two-legged encounter, as Webber opened the scoring on Tuesday night, while Mokoena doubled his side’s tally before Mahlatsi teed Singh for his team’s third.

With the Under-23s likely to wear the favourite’s tag against Zimbabwe, who beat Mozambique 2-0 on aggregate, they’ll hope to become the fourth national team to play in a major tournament this year -joining Bafana, Banyana Banyana and Amajita.

Banyana and Amajita will be playing in their respective Fifa World Cups in France and Poland in June and May respectively. Should the Under-23s qualify it would mark a rare occasion that almost all the national teams play in major events in a year.