The South African men’s under-23 team will be the country's football flagbearers in next year's Olympics. David Notoane’s charges have managed to pass through various development structures. In theory, this should set them up for a future in the senior national team. eNCA's Hloni Mtimkulu takes a look at their chances of achieving this. Courtesy #DStv403
JOHANNESBURG - The South African men's under-23 team will be the country's football flag bearers in next year's Olympics.
David Notoane's charges have managed to pass through various development structures.
In theory, this should set them up for a future in the senior national team.
In eight months, the joy of qualifying for Tokyo 2020 will make way for the reality of playing at the Olympics.
Beyond the Summer Games, it will be important that the South African Football Association is able to bring in these players to the senior national team.
"So we have few of those players here who have already tasted what it's like to play for Bafana Bafana, I think it has to be done gradually, over time," said Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki.
For the work of bringing-in players to be effective, junior structures have to be in place.
Through its southern African confederation, Cosafa, mother body Caf has been especially busy this year with several competitions at the lower level.
"I always believe that in those stages in their careers, where they're still youngsters in their careers, the more game time, the more opportunities they get, the better for them because you can only learn so much in training sessions, the rest of your learning only comes from actual game situations," Bafana Bafana goalkeeper coach Andre Arendse.
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Less than a handful of former coach Owen da Gama's Rio 2016 squad are currently Bafana Bafana regulars.
Will things be different with this group of players?
"There were players that ex-Bafana coach Stuart Baxter already was thinking of roping into the full Bafana squad going to Afcon, but due to our programme, compromises have to be reached. So, I think that position still remains, but it's up to the players to continue raising their hands through their performances to say to Bafana coach we are ready'," said Notoane.
Notoane adds that this integration process between the different ranks is always under discussion.