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- Updated: March 23, 2011
The South African national Under-23 soccer team is back in the country┬á after an impressive 5-0 win away win over Botswana in Gaborone at the weekend.
The match was initially scheduled to take place this last Monday. The clash was used to prepare for South Africa’s Olympic qualifier against Libya on Sunday which will be held at the Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg.
Sibusiso Khumalo scored his first hat-trick for the team while Mandla Masango and Themba Zwane both scored a goal each to make the final score five-nil (5-0) in the visitors’ favour.
Head coach Ephraim ÔÇ£ShakesÔÇØ Mashaba says the victory will go a long way in boosting the team’s confidence ahead of the match. ÔÇ£It was a good match for us and I am happy with the team’s performance on the day. Even though Khumalo scored three goals it was a great team effort, and that is what is important. The fact that we won 5-0 should not mislead people into thinking that it was a walk in the park for us.
“In fact, in the first 15 minutes Botswana had five shots on target but our goalkeeper did very well. We wanted to establish two things during this match, the first was to see if we are capable of scoring goals in attack and the other was to play as a team and drop back after losing the ball and both worked very well so in that regards I am satisfied,ÔÇØ said Mashaba.
Following the impressive score line, the head coach added the team must now guard against complacency.
“We must be more than ready come kick off time on Sunday. In the national team there is never enough time to prepare, but we need to avoid complacency after beating Botswana by such a high margin. The players understand what is at stake here and know that a win in the first leg will give us a great advantage,ÔÇØ added Mashaba.
The South African Under-23 team face Jomo Cosmos in a practice match on Wednesday at the Marks Park Grounds in Johannesburg.