Owen Da Gama (Supplied)
Cape Town - The South African U-23 men’s national football team held their first training session in Brasilia on Monday afternoon after a long journey to the 2016 Olympic Games with left-back Tebogo Moerane firing a warning shot to South Africa’s opponents.
With only 10 days left to the beginning of the games, players are finally seeing the product of months and months of preparations, and the excitement in the camp is there for all to see.
Leftback Moerane says it is every player’s dream to play in the Olympics and as for him, this was a chance of a lifetime to take his career to the next level.
"As young players we only have memories of the class of 2000 playing in Sydney. We did not realise how big this platform is; this is massive," he said.
"Playing at the Olympics is an honour and I want to ensure that I give it my all.
"We will be facing Brazil for the second time this year when we play them in our opening match next Thursday and although we lost 3-1 in the friendly match in March, we are a better prepared team now.
"We will not only be facing Neymar Jr but a full strength squad along with the 12th man, the supporters but we are up for the challenge."
Moerane said the South African squad had come of age and will surprise a few in this tournament.
"We believe we have what it takes to give not only Brazil a run for their money, but all the teams in our group," he said.
"The support staff has done all they can throughout the past year to get us to this point and we as players know that the future lies in our hands."