South Africa U-23s line up Japan friendly ahead of Rio Olympic Games

2016-04-27 06:00
PHOTO: SUPPLIED  Under 23 coach Owen da Gama.

PHOTO: SUPPLIED Under 23 coach Owen da Gama.

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THE South Africa Under-23 team will face Japan in a friendly on June 29 as part of their preparations for the Rio Olympics in August.

Owen da Gama’s side will contest the international tie at the Matsumotodaira Football Stadium in Nagano, Japan. Kick-off is at 7:30 local time (12:30am SA time).

“We could not have asked for a more high profile opponents like Japan. In the last Olympics they finished top of their group and finished among the top four, which shows they are no pushovers,” Da Gama said.

“We have said time and again that the only way for us to be completely ready for the Olympic Games is to face big guns like these.

“I would like to thank Safa for working round the clock to secure this match, and we are working on more practice games because we want to go to Rio with a couple of matches under our belt which will put the boys in good stead.”

Japan U-23 coach Makoto Teguramori is relishing the rare opportunity to take on African opposition before also competing at the sporting showpiece in South America.

“This is our last match in Japan before we go to the Rio Olympics; we are really looking forward to play against a team that is also going to the Games. This match will afford us a chance to show that our team has some possibility of achieving a good result in Rio. We have to prepare a variety of tactics to play in Olympics as we are facing different oppositions with different styles,” said Teguramori.

“We would like to show the people of Japan how much progress we have made in our attempts to challenge the world. South Africa is a team using physical strength and from what we have seen recently, the team is getting more tactical. We don’t have too many opportunities to play against African opposition so this game will be a very important opportunity for us to learn more about African game.”

Safa president Danny Jordaan said the association is committed to helping Da Gama’s team and Banyana Banayana get ready for Brazil.

“We have promised that we will do the best we can to help both Banyana Banyana and the SA U-23 national team prepare for the Olympics. This is a very important tournament and we are aware that most of these boys will graduate to Bafana Bafana with so much experience, which will help the country and Safa’s Vision 2022.

“We will soon confirm more friendly matches for both teams because we want them to go there better prepared.”

SA u-23 International Friendly

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Japan vs South Africa

Kirin Challenge Cup 2016 – International Friendly

Matsumotodaira Football Stadium

Nagano, Japan

19:30pm (Wednesday, 12:30am SA time)

SA u23 Men’s Olympic Fixtures:

Thursday 4 August

Brazil vs South Africa

Mane Garrincha Stadium

Brasilia

4pm (9pm SA time)

Sunday 7 August

Denmark vs South Africa

Mane Garrincha Stadium

Brasilia

7pm (2am Monday, 8 Aug SA time)

Wednesday 10 August

South Africa vs Iraq

Corinthians Arena

Sao Paulo

10plm (3am Thursday, 11 Aug SA time)

Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016

Group A

Brazil, South Africa, Iraq, Denmark

Group B

Sweden, Colombia, Nigeria, Japan

Group C

Fiji, Korea Republic, Mexico, Germany

Group D

Honduras, Algeria, Portugal, Argentina –Safa Media

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