Itumeleng Khune (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - South Africa Under-23 coach Owen Da Gama has named Itumeleng Khune in his starting XI to take on Brazil in the opening fixture at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Amaglug-glug will face the host nation on Thursday, August 4 at 21:00 (SA time).
Meanwhile, Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Keagan Dolly will lead the South African Men’s Olympic Team as captain at the tournament.
Defenders Kwanda Mngonyama and Rivaldo Coetzee have been appointed vice captains.
Dolly led the squad to Olympic qualification when he wore the armband at the CAF under-23 Africa Cup of Nations tournament held in Senegal in 2015, with Mngonyama as his second in command.
Coetzee was given the responsibility at the COSAFA Castle Cup tournament held in Namibia recently, which South Africa won.
The South Africans will look to improve on the performance of 2000, the last time they took part in the Olympics.
Head coach Owen da Gama was beaming with pride about the abundance of leaders in his squad.
“Dolly has grown as a player in the past few months, and don’t forget he captained the side through the qualifiers in Senegal late last year," said Da Gama on the official SAFA website.
“When we started with preparations of the Olympic qualification phase, Kwanda Mngonyama was the captain, while Rivaldo Coetzee led the COSAFA Castle Cup squad.
“This shows we have many leaders in the squad but only one player can wear the armband on the day.
“It is for those reasons that we believe these three are more suitable and capable of leading the team.
“We are also fortunate that Bafana Bafana captain Itumeleng Khune is with us - a clear indication of the abundance of leaders we have in this team, but the most important thing that players need to remember is that they are all captains, on and off the field, and all need to be exemplary.”
SA starting XI: Itumeleng Khune, Abbubaker Mobara, Erick Mathoho, Rivaldo Coetzee, Deolin Mekoa, Mothobi Mvala, Gift Motupa, Aubrey Modiba, Keagan Dolly (captain), Menzi Masuku, Lebo Mothiba.
Substitutes: Jody February, Tebogo Moerane, Kwanda Mngonyama; Tercious Malepe, Phumlani Ntshangase, Tyroane Sandows, Tashreeq Morris.