SA qualifies for Rio Olympics

2015-12-16 06:00
WE HAVE DONE IT! South African players in a happy mood after beating Senegal on penalties during the u.23 African Cup of Nations match at Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor in Dakar, Senegal. Photo: BackpagePix

WE HAVE DONE IT! South African players in a happy mood after beating Senegal on penalties during the u.23 African Cup of Nations match at Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor in Dakar, Senegal. Photo: BackpagePix

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SOUTH AFRICA’S u.23 soccer team have qualified for the Rio Olympics next year after confirming their place in the African Cup of Nations in Senegal.

The top three nations guaranteed their places in Rio as South Africa’s third finish on Saturday (12/12) proved enough, after they had beaten Senegal 3-1 on penalty shoot-outs. The match had ended goalless after full-time.

The achievement of the men’s team comes on the back of the women’s team, who secured their Rio de Janeiro spot in October this year.

“This has been an extraordinary year for our national teams,” said Danny Jordaan, president of the South African Football Association (Safa).

“What can I say apart from congratulating coach Owen da Gama and the boys. This has been some year for our national teams starting from Bafana Bafana, u.23, Banyana Banyana, u.20 (Amajita), u.17 (Amajimbos) and our u.20 women’s national team who just missed next year’s World Cup finals in Papua New Guinea on the very last match,” he said.

“Everyone can see what we mean by Vision 2022 when it comes to preparing winning teams, both on the continent and globally.

“We as Safa have just announced a huge profit of over R40 million at the 25th Safa Congress and now our u.23 side has just put the icing on the cake with this marvellous result.

“Take a bow, Owen and the boys,” said Jordaan.

South Africa finished behind winners Nigeria and runners-up Algeria. All three nations will be representing the African continent at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The last time the u.23 boys had qualified for the Olympic Games was way back in 2000.

That particular event was held at Sydney in Australia.

Da Gama, the u.23 men’s team coach, said: “The players were very motivated as they had made history for themselves. We last qualified 15 years ago. Now they are also going to be there.”

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