SA U23 coach eyeing Olympics
Johannesburg - South African Under-23 coach Shakes Mashaba aims to use the All Africa Games as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
Mashaba's team qualified for the tournament on aggregate despite suffering a 1-0 loss to their Zimbabwean counterparts in Harare on over the weekend, two weeks after defeating their neighbours 2-0 in the first leg in Daveyton.
The SA U-23 men's team will join the national women's squad at the continental showpiece in Maputo, Mozambique in September.
Mashaba said the hectic match schedule would be good test for his players. "I must admit it's a very good feeling to qualify for the All Africa Games, which in my view is a prestigious tournament," said Mashaba.
"I have always said that for us to conquer the world we need to start in our backyard, right here in our region, then we can take it from there, so this is the start we wanted. The Mozambique Games will also be a good test for the boys because they will able to play a number of matches in a short period of time."
The shambles of the teams management "forgetting" to register it's participation for the Games qualifiers is now a fading memory with the young and exciting outfit able to fit in a good preparatory competition ahead of the final round of qualifying later this year for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Mashaba said he was pleased that his back four were able to absorb the pressure from the hosts in the absence of regular defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele who was not released by his club, Moroka Swallows.