With next month’s U23 Africa Cup of Nations falling outside the Fifa calendar, the Premier Soccer League clubs have a big call to make regarding the release of players for a tournament which determines which three teams go to the Olympics next year.
Coach David Notoane will lead his charges to Egypt to face Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Zambia in Group B and needs his strongest team, similar to one he has selected for Friday’s international friendly against Egypt in Cairo.
The eight-nations tournament is scheduled to take place between 8-22 November, and Notoane needs permission from clubs to pick his ideal team.
“We have already written a letter to the PSL and I think it is critical because if we can get the team as it is now, players that have been together since the first match against Angola, then they have a very good chance to qualify for the Olympics,” said Danny Jordaan, the president of the SA Football Association.
Notoane’s U23 team is a mixture of local and overseas-based players, and that means SAFA would also need clubs abroad to help them out.
“I don’t think the issue of clubs versus country will derail the team. It is strange that the foreign based clubs follow the lead of the South African clubs. If all our clubs release players, then we have a better chance because they can point to our own clubs in our country not releasing players,” Jordaan said.