U23’s book their place in Brazil!
13 December 2015
Kwanda Mngonyama, Deolin Mekoa and the rest of the South African Under-23 squad did the nation proud by qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
Owen da Gama and his U23 side on Saturday qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics after beating Senegal 3-1 on penalties after the match U23 AFCON third place play-off game had ended 0-0 after 90 minutes.
SAFA President, Dr Danny Jordaan immediately sent a congratulatory message to the boys in Senegal.
“This has been an extraordinary year for our national teams,” said the SAFA President who rushed from the SAFA Congress at the Sandton Convention Centre to see the boys seal yet another place for South Africa at the 2016 Rio Olympics after Banyana Banyana.
“This has been some year for our national teams starting from Bafana Bafana, U23, Banyana Banyana, U20 (Amajita), U17 (Amajimbos) and our U20 women’s national team which just missed next year’s World Cup finals in Papua Guinea on the very last match.
“Now, everyone can see what we mean by Vision 2022 when it comes to preparing winning teams both on the continent and globally."
The hero for the U23 side was none other than goalkeeper Jody February who made numerous stunning saves including several penalty kicks and will wake up to some screaming headlines from the media and members of the public.
Gift Motupa could have given South Africa a fifth minute lead but his effort was well saved by the Senegalese keeper who tipped it for a corner.
As the match swung from one end to the other, February made a crucial save on the 16th minute.
In the 44th minute, Phakamani Mahlambi could have opened the scoring for South Africa when Owen da Gama’s side earned a free kick on the edge of the box but the Senegalese keeper made another brilliant save.
Motupa evaded his marker again in the 49th minute after being put through by Mahlambi but again shot wide as he continued to struggle to replicate his outstanding form against Zambia where he scored a glorious double.
At the other end, February again denied Senegal a clear goal when he rushed out of his area to make another good save.
As the game opened up, both sides missed some clear chances as both sides chased the elusive winner.
Senegal were awarded a penalty in the 73rd minute and Mousa Keita’s effort was brilliantly saved by the outstanding February as the follow-up hit the upright.
The match then went to penalties where the Ajax Cape Town keeper stole the show.
(South Africa wins 3-1 on penalties)
SA u23 11 vs Senegal: Jody February (GK), Kwanda Mngonyama, Rivaldo Coetzee, Tebogo Moerane, Abbubaker Mobara, Keagan Dolly (c), Phumlani Ntshangase, Tshepo Rikhotso, Deolin Mekoa, Phakamani Mahlambi, Gift Motupa
Subs: Ricardo Goss (GK), Kyle Peters (GK), Zitha Macheke, Denwin Farmer, Siphelele Ntshangase, Sibusiso Sibeko, Paseka Mako, Dumisani Zuma, Ryaad Norodien, Menzi Masuku