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Mashaba’s men ready
- Updated: June 1, 2011
The South African National Under-23 team have wrapped up preparations ahead of their much-anticipated upcoming 2012 London Olympic Games qualifying match against Benin.
The match is scheduled to take place in Benin on Saturday at the Ren├® Pleven Stadium with kick-off at 3pm South African time.
The South Africans depart for Benin on Wednesday where they will play that country in what is arguably the players’ most important match as this is an age-based competition. Some of the players will never get another chance to compete in the Olympics as they might be over the required age in the next Games.
Earlier the team travelled to Mauritius in an effort to fine tune the Shakes Mashaba-led side before facing Benin. South Africa played two friendly matches against the host country, emerging 1-0 winners with a Mandla Masango goal in the first match last Thursday and then drawing the second 0-0 on Sunday.
ÔÇ£This was a very crucial trip for our players as it gave me and my technical team some idea of how ready we are for Benin. I am happy with the outcome and can draw a lot of positives from those matches. We played much better in the second match even though the result does not reflect the whole match. We are now forward to the clash against Benin with a lot of optimism,ÔÇØ said Mashaba.
The head coach adds that Benin is a very physical side and the South Africans should expect a tough day at the office. ÔÇ£We know that Benin, as do most African countries, have big physical players and we don’t expect any less this time around but we are ready for that battle. The Mauritians were also a bit on the physical side but we managed to deal with that element of the game and that is why I believe we will do well in Benin,ÔÇØ added Mashaba.
The team returns to South Africa on Monday 6 June.