Coetzee fired up for Olympics

Rivaldo Coetzee (Gallo Images)
Rivaldo Coetzee (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - National Under-23 defender Rivaldo Coetzee is fired for the Olympic Games as Owen da Gama's side put the final touches on their preparations for Rio.

The young Ajax Cape Town star is set to partner Kaizer Chiefs defender Erick Mathoho in defence, having also played alongside him in for the senior national team under Shakes Mashaba.

Now, the 19-year-old, who was part of Da Gama's side when they finished third in last year's CAF Youth Championship in Senegal, says they are fired up for the occasion.

"I must say I'm feeling pretty good because I've been with this team for a while now and we have been gelling well over the last few camps that we have been together," Coetzee told Vodacom Soccer.

"For me it's not about being a senior player...it's about everyone is equal. We just want to make sure we represent the country well and do our job well."

The teenager also praised the inclusion of Mathoho and Itumeleng Khune as the over-age players in the squad, saying their selection was imperative.

"Mathoho's inclusion was necessary because we conceded silly goals," he added. "I think him coming in with his leadership skills we know we can minimize those mistakes and keep strikers on their toes.

"But it's not to say that I will play with him, I might be on the bench. Coming to 'Itu' Khune, he's the most experienced keeper we have.

"He has done well for Bafana Bafana and at club level as well, so his experience will be vital. But again, we still have two other goalkeepers who are also capable of doing a good job."

South Africa are in Group A for the Olympics and face hosts Brazil next Thursday. They will then face Denmark on 7 August and finish with a tie against Iraq in São Paulo three days later.

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