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U-23’s dream dashed

The South African men’s 2012 Olympic football dream was eclipsed by Egypt at the CAF Under-23 Championships in Marrakech, Morocco on Saturday night, writes Mark Etheridge.

Shakes Mashaba’s men lost their third and final group match 2-0 to the Egyptians and will not be part of Team SA’s participation at the 2012 Games in London.

After draws against Cote d’Ivoire and Gabon, South Africa had needed to beat the Pharaohs as well as hope other group results went their way if they were to make the competition’s semi-finals.

The match was goalless at half-time and goals from Mohamed El Nenny and Marouan Mohsen in the 46th and 63rd minutes killed off South African hopes.

And Gabon’s beating of Cote d’Ivoire in the group’s other game merely rubbed salt in the wound of the South Africans and they finished fourth and last in their group, not winning a single game and scoring just two goals.

Our football hopes will now be represented by the women’s side, Banyana Banyana, have already booked their place at the Olympics, securing one of two spots available to African nations. They sealed their spot by overcoming Ethiopia earlier this year.

It hasn’t been the greatest of weekend’s for our Olympic aspirations with the men’s hockey side’s 4-2 loss to India in the Champions Challenge in Randburg, meaning they now have a must-win tournament in Japan to negotiate if they are to leave for London with the SA team.


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