The first round of the CAF U-23 African Nations Cup tournament scheduled for Cairo during September 2019 is done and dusted and second round matches are scheduled for March next year.
South Africa, who received a bye from the first round but will now face Angola in the second round, are yet to appoint a coach after Owen da Gama, who led the squad to the Rio Olympics two years ago, resigned to join Highlands Park.
Several names have been bandied about by the South African Football Association (SAFA) including Shaun Bartlett and Molefi Ntseki, but sources have indicated that Ntseki or Thabo Senong could be appointed to lead a fresh group of Olympians to Japan 2020.
Angola qualified for the second round after their intended opponents Namibia, withdrew in the eleventh-hour citing lack of funds to send the team to Luanda for the first round as their main reason.
A golden generation of SA Olympians led by Keagan Dolly, Mthobi Mvala, Menzi Masuku, Abubakker Mobara among others, held Brazil with Nyemar to a goalless draw but failed to progress to the next round and it is expected that Phakamani Mahlambi (Mamelodi Sundowns) and Wiseman Meyiwa (Kaizer Chiefs) would form the nucleas of the new push for Japan 2020.
Meanwhile, the Ghana tie against Togo has been postponed to December 18 in Accra with the second leg on December 22 in Lome following a request by the Ghana Football Association Normalization Committee.
The Normalization Committee headed by Dr Kofie Amoah requested the Confederation of African Football (CAF) that due to the fact that the country is hosting the ongoing African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON), their resources would be stretched to the limit.
CAF acceded to their request and postponed the match, after consulting Togo who also agreed to the request, according to Normalization Committee spokesman Dan Kwaku Yeboah.
“We consulted our neighbors Togo and they accepted our requests,” said Yeboah. “We then submitted a request to CAF and I’m happy to announce that they have also accepted our request.”
Ghana, meanwhile, just like South Africa, do not have a permanent U-23 coach and Yosif Abubaker is acting as interim coach but perhaps by the time the match gets underway in December, a permanent coach shall have been appointed.
Seven nations that emerge from these qualifiers will join Egypt at the AFCON tournament in Cairo during September to determine the three countries that would represent the continent at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
CAF U-23 AFCON SECOND ROUND FIXTURES
Angola vs Republic of South Africa
Mozambique vs Zimbabwe
Malawi vs Zambia
Burundi vs Congo
Ghana/Togo vs Gabon
Equatorial Guinea vs Algeria
Cameroon vs Sierra Leone
South Sudan vs Tunisia
Niger vs Ivory Coast
Guinea vs Senegal
Sudan vs Kenya
Libya vs Nigeria
DRC vs Morocco
Ethiopia vs Mali