Johannesburg - Following the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) announcement of the national Under-23 squad set to participate in the Rio de Jeneiro Olympic games, head coach Owen Da Gama has confirmed that the Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune, will be the country’s first choice shot stopper in the upcoming global spectacle.
Khune, 29, alongside his club team-mate Eric Mathoho, 26, were selected as the only two "over-aged" players to represent South Africa in Brazil next month.
Three over-aged players are permitted to participate in the competition but Da Gama said that they decided to select only two as they intend to focus on building a strong team for the future consisting of the current generation of the Amaglug-glug team.
'Rubber Doll' as Da Gama is affectionately known, told Sport24 in an exclusive interview, that his decision to utilise Khune instead of Jody February is due to the fact that the young promising Ajax Cape Town goal minder did not feature much for his club last season.
“Yes Itumeleng Khune is going to the tournament as our first choice keeper, not as a backup,” confirmed Da Gama.
“The reason behind this is because Jody February was not playing regularly for Ajax Cape Town last season and he will learn a lot from Khune in the Olympic games but he too will also get his chance.
“It’s not like he won’t play any game, no he will play as well and same goes to everyone.
“With Anssi Jaakola sold by Ajax, next season would be his chance to prove himself and his Bafana Bafana doors would be open as well.
“Itumeleng (Khune) has plenty of experience under his belt and that would be key for us in Brazil.”