SOUTH Africa and Morocco are the only two soccer sides from this continent to take part in the 25th World Student Games in Belgrade, Serbia, from June 30 to July 12.
This was announced by Federation of International University Sport (Fisu) executive member Malumbete Ralethe at the South African team's farewell function in Pretoria yesterday. The South Africans will take part in the women's soccer competition, while the North Africans will battle it out in the men's tournament.
"We are having 16 men's and 16 women's teams who will participate in the tournament," said Ralethe, a former president of University Sport South Africa.
"The great thing about Fisu competitions is that we [South Africa] have sports greats who have participated in various events like soccer, athletics, judo and swimming.
"Players such as Sibusiso Zuma, Penny Williams, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, Lydia Monyepao, Khabo Zitha, Khotso Mokoena, Llewellyn Herbert and Delisiwe Mbatha have taken part in the games."
Sanele Madlala, the student federation's president, said the South African team will leave in dribs and drabs. Soccer and basketball were the first to leave on Wednesday.
Jerry Laka, University Sport South Africa soccer chairman, said they were disappointed to leave for Serbia minus two key players, Simphiwe Dludlu and Lebo Thobejane. This was after Banyana Banyana coach August Makalakalane decided not to allow the duo to feature in the games. Makalakalane wants Dludlu and Thobejane to go to Holland with Banyana Banyana for a Four Nations Cup to prepare for the 2010 Womens Africa Cup of Nations.
"It's disappointing but there is nothing we can do, August and Banyana Banyana team manager [Fran Hilton-Smith] have been sending us from pillar to post."
Safa CEO Raymond Hack said Makalakalane insisted he needed the two players for Holland.