The national under-23 squad leaves for Accra tomorrow to face Ghana aware that a defeat on Sunday will see them fail to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The South Africans, who are at the bottom of the log in their group with one point, will find it difficult to beat the Ghanaians away after they were walloped 3-1 by them in the first leg in South Africa last month.
Nigeria are on top of the log with four points and Ghana are second with three.
Steve Komphela, the U-23 coach, is expected to trim his 25-man provisional squad to 20 before their departure tomorrow.
The squad started training in Johannesburg yesterday, but Barney Kujane, the project manager of the U-23, could not shed light on which players failed to pitch up for training yesterday.
He was in a meeting late yesterday.
Komphela is well aware of the obstacles awaiting them in Ghana and hence he has assembled his strongest possible squad.
He has the likes of Jomo Cosmos defender Thapelo Tshilo, Kaizer Chiefs' exciting goal minder Itumeleng Khune, Lebohang Mokoena of Orlando Pirates and Tsepo Masilela who is now based in Isreal.
"It will be tough in Ghana but we are going to compete for a win," Morio Sanyane, South African Football Association spokesman, said yesterday.