SA U23 edge closer to their Olympic dream

Captain Tercious Malepe, right, knows what to expect when they meet the Pharoahs in Afcon semis.
Captain Tercious Malepe, right, knows what to expect when they meet the Pharoahs in Afcon semis.
Image: Anesh Debiky/ Gallo Images

In what promises to be their toughest test yet at the ongoing Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt tonight (8pm), SA need to dispatch hosts in the semifinals in Cairo to book their berth at next year's Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

As it was Bafana Bafana who eliminated the Pharaohs from the second round of the senior Afcon they hosted nearly four months ago, the SA U-23 team doesn't have to look far for inspiration.

The top three finishers at the eight-nation tournament go to Tokyo as Africa's representatives. "We know what the senior team had done at Afcon and we can draw inspiration from that result,'' SA coach David Notoane quipped.

Skipper Tercious Malepe knows the significance of beating Egypt. The Chippa United midfielder has given an indication that they've done enough research about their opponents.

"Of course it's a very important game for us. It's a game whereby we need to win to buy our ticket to Tokyo and give ourselves a chance to play in the final,'' said Malepe.

"We know a bit about Egypt, remember two weeks ago we were here to acclimatise as a team. We profiled some of their players. They are a good team it won't be easy for us, but we're more than ready. We expect a packed stadium.''

Heading into this encounter, SA have not conceded at this tournament, scoring only a single goal in three games. On the other hand, Egypt have scored six and leaked three in the same number of outings.

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