Shakes eyes Namibia warm-up
Shakes Mashabe (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Head coach Shakes Mashaba says South Africa's Under-23 soccer team will use a friendly match against Namibia in Windhoek next week as preparation for the All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique in September.
Mashaba said on Friday, after announcing a 23-man squad, that he had hoped for a warm-up against another team that had qualified for the continental showpiece, but was confident their neighbours would provide stiff opposition.
"We are happy that we were able to secure opponents so we can keep the boys busy and prepare thoroughly," Mashaba said.
"It would have been even better to play one of the nations that have qualified.
"Be that as it may, Namibia have never disappointed. They always put up a fight and we are expecting a fight, so it should be an interesting game.
"With the All Africa Games just around the corner, this will be a good exercise for the whole team."
Mashaba should also take some confidence that the friendly match will be played on a Fifa calendar date, freeing up players and preventing another club v country debate.
He said the squad would assemble for a training camp on Sunday ahead of Wednesday's match.
SA U-23 squad: Goalkeepers: Boalefa Pule, Brilliant Khuzwayo (GK).
Defenders: Siyabonga Zulu, Sibusiso Mxoyana, Erick Mathoho, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Doctor Mampuru, Wandisile Letlabika, Ramahlele Mphahlele, Gladwin Shitolo.
Midfielders: Thandani Ntshumaleyo, Thabang Motau, Mlungusi Mbunjana, Bongolethu Jayiya, Sibusiso Vilakazi, Thamsanqa Sangweni, Sameehg Doutie, Themba Zwane, Mandla Masango, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Sici Shilembe.
Strikers: Phumelele Bhengu, Wish Ntombela.