SA would be wise to select an U-23 squad for CHANThomas Kwenaite
South Africa received a bye into the second round when the Confederation of African Football (CAF) conducted the 2020 draw for the African Nations Championship tournament scheduled for Ethiopia.
The South Africans would meet Lesotho is a contest that has been regionalized in an attempt to save costs and ensure no particular region dominates the rest of the continent at the finals of the tournament.
West African, Central and East, North Africa and Southern African nations would engage in regional tournaments where at least three or four winners from each region would qualify for the biennial tournament in Ethiopia.
Botswana engage Seychelles in the preliminary round of the Southern African qualifiers. eSwatini tackles Malawi and the winners advance to the next round where they will find Zambia and Angola respectively lying in wait.
Namibia have been paired with Comoros while Madagascar, whose main side qualified for the 2019 African Nations Cup for the first time in the history of Malagasy football, will face Mozambique and Zimbabwe tackles Mauritius.
Should South Africa brush Lesotho aside, they are scheduled to meet the winner between Mauritius and Zimbabwe for a spot in the final in Ethiopia next year.
However, with the U-23 due to start preparations for the Olympic Games in Japan next year, the South Africans could do well to consider assembling an Olympic team to represent the country in the tournament.
South Africa has been drawn against Angola in the second round of the Olympic qualifiers. And should they successfully negotiate their way past the Junior Palancas Negras, would face the winner between Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
If successful in both ties, they will qualify for the CAF African Nations Cup scheduled for Egypt in September and a top three finish would guarantee qualification to the Olympic tournament in Japan.