SA U23 heading to the Olympics


South Africa will be heading to the 2020 Olympic games after beating Ghana to the bronze medal in a thrilling AFCON U23 clash at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday afternoon.

David Notoane's side managed just one goal in their four games at the tournament‚ through a stunning Teboho Mokoena free-kick before their semi-final exit at the hands of hosts Egypt.

Meanwhile, Ghana, who were in their first U23 AFCON since it's inception were knocked out at the last-four stage by Ivory Coast on penalties.

After a nervy start, South Africa took the lead through a Habib Mohamed own-goal as Luther Singh's effort deflected in off the defender in the 15th minute.

Mamelodi Sundowns forward Keletso Makgalwa had a perfect opportunity to make it 2-0 on the half-hour mark after being set up at point-blank range but he's hesitation offered Ghana a chance to clear their lines.

Notoane's charged took the lead into the break having dominated the latter stages of the half but were made to rue their chances as Ghana found an equaliser in the 50th minute.

Just as Mohamed went off injured Evans Mensah fired in a thunderous effort past Mlondi Mpoto, leaving the Bloemfontein Celtic stopper with no chance.

However, the introduction of AmaTuks winger Kamohelo Mahlatsi proved to be a masterstroke as netted with his first touch of the game after Foster fumbled Keagan Johannes' cross into his path inside the area.

Mensah was proving to be a menace against the back-four, and was influential in their equaliser five minutes from time, as he twisted Katlego Mohamme inside-out before squaring for Samuel Gyabaa to slot home.

The fans in attendance at the iconic venue in Cairo were treated to an end-to-end spectacle before the game went to the dreaded penalty shoot-outs.

And it was Mondli Mpoto who was the hero in the shoot-out as he saved a vital penalty in sudden death as South Africa joined Egypt and Ivory Coast as the African football representatives in Japan next year.

Confirmed line-ups:

Ghana XI: K. Baah; K. Fobi, H. Mohammed, Z. Fuseini, E. Sarpong, E. Lomotey, M.Agbekpornu, Y. Yeboah (C), E. Mensah, K. Owusu, S. Gyabaa.

SA XI: M. Mpoto; K. Johannes, T. Mukumela, T. Malepe (C), K. Mohamme, T. Mokoena, A. Dlala, G. Margeman, K. Makgalwa, L. Singh, L. Foster.