Cape Town - Head coach of the South African Men’s U-23
National Team, Owen da Gama, has announced his starting eleven for the CAF U-23
Africa Cup of Nations opening clash against hosts Senegal.
The tournament gets underway on Saturday afternoon at the
Léopold Senghor Stadium in Dakar.
Kickoff is at 17h00 (SA time).
Da Gama has named four debutants – defenders Rivaldo Coetzee (Ajax Cape Town)
and Denwin Farmer (Supersport United), as well as midfielder Paseka Mako from
Cape Town All Stars and Bidvest Wits striker Phakamani Mahlambi.
Ricardo Goss will man the goals, while Kwanda Mngonyama and Tshepo Rikhotso
complete the defence.
Abbubaker Mobara, Keagan Dolly and Phumlani Ntshangase will play alongside Mako
in the middle of the park.
Siphelele Ntshangase will assist Mahlambi with goal scoring duties.
"We are all aware that it will not be
easy but we have to go out there and fight, let’s show them that we want it
more. The great team spirit that exists in this group gives me the confidence
that we can do it," said captain Kwanda Mngonyama.
"The Road to Rio does not start with this clash against
Senegal, but the journey continues."
South Africa are in Group A with the hosts, as well as Zambia and Tunisia.
"We are very excited, this is a great experience for us. The players are aware
of the task at hand and we are all ready for this momentous occasion. I am very
happy that we got through this week, now we are waiting for kick-off," said Da Gama.
no injuries and the mood is fantastic within the team, which gives us
confidence of doing well. There is a no doubt about our aim – we just have to
win, whether it is narrow or close, it really doesn’t matter as long as it’s a
win.” said Da Gama.
South Africa next faces Zambia, then Tunisia.
"It’s crucial to understand the entire process as to how the other teams in our
group are doing, but it is equally important to take it one game at a time. Our
immediate task is to get over this hurdle and once we are done with Senegal."
The top three teams at the tournament will qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
SA U-23 11 vs Senegal:
Ricardo Goss (GK), Tshepo Rikhotso, Kwanda Mngonyama (c), Rivaldo Coetzee,
Denwin Farmer, Abbubaker Mobara, Keagan Dolly, Phumlani Ntshangase, Paseka
Mako, Phakamani Mahlambi, Siphelele Ntshangase
Jody February (GK), Kyle Peters (GK), Zitha Macheke, Tebogo Moerane, Deolin
Mekoa, Ryaad Norodien, Sibusiso Sibeko, Dumisani Zuma