SA soccer team faces exclusion from All Africa games

2011-08-25 12:06

The SA men’s Under-23 soccer team faced exclusion from the All African Games if they did not submit the final list of players by the close of business today.

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) announced earlier today that the rest of the squad to represent the country at next month’s All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique.

Sascoc said they had been told by South African Football Association (Safa) that the Premier Soccer League (PSL) refused to release their players.

“Safa called an urgent camp for 40 players over the last few days and have been given until the close of business on August 25 to submit the names of the team or face exclusion from team South Africa,” Sascoc said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Olympic body announced a strong swimming contingent for the Games.

Swimmers Roland Schoeman, Cameron van der Burgh, Gideon Louw, Darian Townsend and Gerhard Zandberg will start their bid to qualify for next year’s London Olympic Games in Maputo.

Sascoc named a team of more than 200 athletes to fly the flag for South Africa.

South African athletes will compete in a total of 18 different sports against their continental counterparts while there is also representation by Paralympic athletes in the aquatics and athletics codes.

The sports being contested in the Mozambican capital are aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, chess, cycling, football, judo, karate, sailing, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball and beach volleyball.

The team will consist of a number of athletes who have represented South Africa at the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games.

Also included are Paralympic participants Oscar Pistorius and Natalie du Toit in athletics and swimming respectively.

Gideon Sam, the president of South Africa’s Olympic governing body Sascoc said he expected the team to improve on their previous performance in the Games in Algiers, Algeria in 2007.

Egypt and Algeria ended first and second while South Africa took third spot.

“South Africa go to Maputo this time out even more determined than ever to do well and to bag the most medals and prove to the rest of the continent that we are indeed a super power to be reckoned with,” said Sam.

He said the Games would be the perfect platform for athletes to show how far they were into their preparations for the Olympic Games.

“Great performances in Maputo will go a long way in showing coaches how far they still have to go to be battle-ready for London,” said Sam.

“We therefore make a special request to all our athletes to take these Games in a serious manner and to go out there and to do their best, because only the best performances will be good for South Africa.”

Other big names in the athletics squad are junior world long jump champion Luvo Manyonga and Commonwealth Games javelin champion Sunette Viljoen.

Among the canoeists will be the K2 combination of Shaun Rubenstein and Mike Arthur as well as former World Cup K1 medallist Bridgitte Hartley.

The Banyana Banyana women’s side is also part of this strong contingent and are still in the running to qualify for next year’s Olympics.

The martial arts will have representation in three codes, namely judo, karate and taekwondo.

Five tri-athletes make the trip, among them Wian Sullwald, who was in the South African team that did duty at the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore last year.

Both the traditional form of volleyball as well as the newer beach volleyball code will have representation.

Egypt won 199 medals and Algeria 205 but Algeria ended second on the table because they won four fewer gold medals than Egypt.

South Africa won 180 medals in total, 61 of which were gold.

The country’s team dominated the swimming competition and are once again likely to do so in Maputo.

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