Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki believes it will benefit the country if the majority of the SA U23 side players get offered contracts from overseas clubs.
The David Notoane-coached side secured a 2020 Olympic Games qualification after beating Ghana 6-5 on penalties during a 3rd/4th playoff match at the recently concluded U23 AFCON.
Notoane opted to go with a squad full of locally based players for the tournament which took place in Egypt.
The abundance of talent in the squad has also been compared to the 2000 Sydney Olympics team that had the likes of Benni McCarthy, Siyabonga Nomvethe, Quinton Fortune, Emille Baron and Jabu Mahlangu to name but a few.
Ntseki says almost everyone in that team deserves to play abroad.
“If you remember what happened in 2016 when we came back from the Olympics, Keagan Dolly got a contract overseas (with Montpellier of France). I would be very happy if I can see 99.9% of these players getting contracts overseas because getting contracts overseas help them get exposed to that level of football,” said Ntseki.
“When you play in the Olympics, when you play in the World Cup or against African countries, that experience comes in handy and that is why I am saying with the journey that they have travelled it really augurs well for the senior national team,” he added.
Of the 21 players in the squad, only 3 (Lyle Foster, Luther Singh and Kobamelo Kodisang) ply their trade at European clubs and the rest are based in the Absa premiership as well as the GladAfrica Championship.
The list of AFCON U23 Squad:
Mondli Mpoto (Bloemfontein Celtic)
Andile Mbanjwa (Richards Bay)
Happy Mashiane and Siyabonga Ngezana (Kaizer Chiefs)
Keagan Johannes, Darren Johnson, Thendo Mukumela and Grant Magerman (Ajax Cape Town)
Thabiso Monyane (Orlando Pirates)
Tercious Malepe (Chippa United)
Katlego Mohamme, Athenkosi Dlala and Kamohelo Mahlatsi (AmaTuks)
Keanu Cupido (Cape Town City)
Sipho Mbule and Teboho Mokoena (SuperSport United)
Kobamelo Kodisang (FC Braga B, Portugal)
Luther Singh (Moreirense FC, Portugal)
Keletso Makgalwa (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Lyle Foster (Cercle Brugge K.S.V, Belgium)
Itumeleng Shopane (Swallows FC)
By Ofhani Munyai