SA drawn against Zambia, Nigeria and Ivory Coast for Under-23 Afcon
South Africa were drawn with the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Zambia in Group B for next month’s U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt from where the top three finishers advance to participate at the men’s football tournament at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Coach David Notoane was in the crowd at the Montaza Palace in Alexandria to observe the draw conducted by a podgy-looking Emad Moteab, former striker of Al Ahly and Egypt.
South Africa were the last team out of hat at the draw ceremony and will start their campaign against regional rivals Zambia.
The tournament is being played from November 8-22 but not all of the matches are being played during the international window, which means a tug-of-war over player availability is expected.
Hosts Egypt, Cameroon, Ghana and Mali are in Group A.
Amagluglug meet Zambia on November 9 and then take on Nigeria and the Ivorians on November 12 and November 15 respectively. All the Group B games will be at Cairo’s Al Salam Stadium.
The top two finishers go through to the semifinals, where the Olympic Games’ berths are at stake.
South Africa were one of the top three finishers at the last U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal to go on and compete at the Rio Olympics.
Their group opponents Nigeria beat Libya and Sudan to qualify for the tournament in Egypt; Ivory Coast overcame Niger and then Guinea in the preliminary qualifiers while Zambia got past Mali and Congo-Brazzaville.