Former SA Under 23 International Abram ‘Wire’ Nteo feels the current SA U23 side has the potential to match the standards of the 2000 Sydney Olympics team.
The dazzling squad coached by Ephraim ‘Shales’ Mashaba and Kenny Ndlazi defeated a Brazilian side that had the likes of Ronaldinho, Julio Cesar, Lucio and Baiano in a Group D match of the games.
The team failed to qualify for the quarterfinals after finishing third with defeats to Japan and Slovakia.
Nteo, who played in all three group matches, says the current squad coached by David Notoane reminds him and his then teammates.
“They remind me of that team. I was taking to coach David Notoane the other day and he told me he wants to build that team and make history with those boys. But with this group that they have now I think they will achieve a lot,” Nteo told FARPost.co.za.
“But they have to work hard because to be honest there was unity in our team. Each department had players that could perform. We had Bra Shakes on our side, and you couldn’t even notice if Benni McCarthy was playing overseas or Quinton Fortune was playing for Manchester United. When we were together, we were one team so that’s what made it special,” he added.
Nteo is now coaching Bloemfontein Celtic’s Multichoice Diski Challenge (MDC) outfit.
South Africa Sydney Olympics Team:
Stanton Fredericks, Daniel Matsau, Nkosinathi Nhleko, Steve Lekoelea, Jabu Pule, Dumisa Ngobe, Emile Baron, Fabian McCarthy, David Kannemeyer, Nkhiphitheni Matombo, Matthew Booth, Quinton Fortune, Abram Nteo, Aaron Mokoena, Siyabonga Nomvethe, Delron Buckley, Benni McCarthy, Brian Baloyi, Lebohang Kukane, Mzunani Mgwigwi, Patrick Mbuthu and Rowen Fernandez.