U-23s call for reinforcements

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

South African Under-23 national soccer team technical staff have roped in four new players for Saturday's all-important Beijing Olympics qualifier against Ghana.

Barney Kujane, the team's project manager, yesterday identified the players as Excellent Walaza, Kagiso Senamela, Eleazor Rodgers and Bradley Grobler.

This came after Clifford "Robot" Ngobeni was withdrawn from the team after sustaining a knee injury in Durban at the weekend.

"We have received a report from Ajax Cape Town that Robot is injured, the coach has called up Kagiso as a replacement," said Kujane. "Erwin Isaacs has informed us that he won't be able to join us here at the camp in Klerksdorp because of personal commitments.

"Another player who will be joining us late is Lance Davids, who played a league match in Sweden on Monday night.

"Following the injuries and players reporting for camp late, the technical staff have decided to call up Walaza, Eleazor and Bradley. This was done as a precautionary measure in case there are injuries," said Kujane, adding that preparations for the game at Olen Park were well on course.

Davids will arrive in the country today. The other overseas-based players, Masilo Modubi and Jeff Ntuka, landed on Monday night.

"We are hard at training in preparation for the game and everything is going according to plans. We are looking forward to a great game," said Modubi.

"The team is playing at home and we cannot afford to lose. A win will put us in a good position to realise our dreams of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics."

Kujane said Ghana, who are still to win a match after losing the opening one 3-2 against log leaders Nigeria, have indicated that they will land tomorrow.

Entrance to the match is free.

Meanwhile, the Under-23 side yesterday sent their condolences to the family of Gift Leremi, who died on Monday night.

Leremi is a former Under-23 side member and had featured in all the qualifiers that resulted in South Africa reaching the group stages.