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Siphelele Ntshangase plays down South Africa U-23 pressure to qualify for Olympics

Posted: 9 November 2015 Time: 15:03

South Africa Under-23 attacker Siphelele Ntshangase says the team is not under pressure to perform at the CAF Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Senegal later this month.

Coach Owen da Gama has called up 23 players that will go into camp today and they will play a practice match against Tanzania senior team tomorrow at Eldorado Park.

READ: Under-23 squad goes into camp

The Under-23s have to finish in the top three of the eight-nation tournament in Senegal to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

AmaGlug-glug last qualified for the Olympic Games back in 2000 with players such as Benni McCarthy, Delron Buckley, Siyabona Nomvete, Jabu Mahlangu (Pule), Steve Lekoelea, Quinton Fortune, Aaron Mokoena and Matthew Booth.

Expectations have been raised for Da Gama’s side after the PSL decided to halt all domestic matches for the duration of the tournament, which runs from 28 November to 12 December.

But Black Leopards striker Ntshangase, who has been off-form since the season started, says the Under-23s are not under pressure to perform.

“I don't think we have a pressure and what we need to do is to impose our style of play, whatever will happen will happen,” Ntshangase tells KickOff.com.

“These games will come at a time when I'm off form but I know once I wear that jersey of the national team it will help me to gain my confidence back.

“But we are going there to perform and as I said we are not under pressure and I'm happy that the ladies [Banyana Banyana] have also qualified [for Rio 2016].”

Banyana qualified for next year’s Olympics after beating the best African women’s side Equatorial Guinea thanks to a solitary strike from USA-based striker Jermaine Seopsenwe.

The South African Under-17 team Amajimbos qualified for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile but crashed out early and failed to win a match. Nigeria won the tournament at the weekend.

Article by: Robin-Duke Madlala
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