The summer Olympic games in Brazil are a mere six months away. And Baby Bafana earned the right to compete at the multi-sport event scheduled for Brazil in August following a grueling qualification in Senegal where they won bronze and a ticket to Rio.
However, the International Olympic Committee rules allows coaches to spice up the tournament by including three over-age players in their squads. But at this stage it is debatable which players coach Owen da Gama and his technical committee have earmarked to fill up those three vacant positions.
Da Gama was unable to secure the release of several overseas-based players like Lebohang Phiri (Brondby, Denmark) and Tyrone Sandows (Gremio, Brazil) for the CAF U-23 Championship in Senegal, but the duo would be eligible for selection as the tournament is sanctioned by FIFA.
However, with Argentina hinting at including the World Footballer of the Year – Lionel Messi – Brazil likely to select Neymar who is expected to captain the hosts, Portugal also likely to include Ronaldo with England likely to Wayne Rooney in their Olympic squads – South Africa needs to start looking at options at our disposal.
The Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, described as one of Africa’s greatest shot stoppers is a possibility. He could offer perfect cover for the young but exciting Jody February who also distinguished himself during the CAF U-23 Championship tournament in Senegal.
His Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana team-mate Eric Mathoho is another player who has been successfully paired with Rivaldo Coetzee at senior level and could be a welcome addition to the team. What is more, Mathoho has so often weighed in with crucial goals.
In the middle, da Gama has a wide option to choose from anyone of the inform Mamelodi Sundowns anchorman Bongani Zungu, Netherlands-based Kamohelo Mokotjo or the adventurous and imposing Andile Jali, anyone of the trio could add steel and experience in the most important department of the team.
The coach could decide to choose either Thami Gabuza (Orlando Pirates), Kermit Erasmus (Pirates) or the Bournemouth speed merchant Tokelo Rantie to lead an attack where either one of them would receive adequate supply from the exciting Keagan Dolly and the sensational Phakamani Mahlambi.
Perhaps you have better options. Send me your views on: www.thomaskwenaite.co.za where they will be published!