SA U23 noticeable omissions


With the U23 AFCON set to take place in the capital city of Egypt, Cairo, takes a look at some of the players who were surprisingly left out of the SA U23 team.

We are focusing mainly on players who were in the picture with regards to the U23 national team.


Reeve Frosler of Kaizer Chiefs.

The Kaizer Chiefs right-back has done a sterling job this season, displacing Ramahlwe Mphahlele and winning and making the position his own. Frosler has picked up an injury that kept him out of the Soweto Derby against Orlando Pirates, but it wasn’t the sort of injury to keep him out for a long spell, hence his U23 snub was rather surprising. But then again he’s not really been a favourite of head coach, David Notoane.


The 20-year-old attacking midfielder was one of a few players who were initially drafted into the U23 set up by coach David Notoane and considering his consistency in England in the past few weeks, it is surprising that he’s not in the team list especially with the current struggles with the release of some of the key players for the national side.


He’s been in great form this season in Denmark with a return of three goals so far for HB Koge, including a thunderbolt this past weekend to dispatch Viborg in the league. The striker has been part of the U23 team and has been playing a part in the qualifiers, but he has been omitted from the final AFCON squad.


Probably one of the most surprising omissions of the current squad considering the winger had been playing regular PSL football before making a move to Denmark to join top tier side AGF Aarhus for a record fee for Cape Town City. Links is one of SA’s most talented young players and he has been playing well in Denmark including getting off the mark for his new club and one would have thought he would be one of the first names in the team sheet but that isn’t the case.


Portugal-based Thabo Cele.

Formerly with Benfica, Thabo Cele who now plays for Portuguese Segunda Liga side Cova Di Piedade, was one of the shining stars for Amajita at the 2017 U20 World Cup with the midfielder pulling the strings for SA, including that assist for our only goal in the tournament scored against Japan. The midfielder has been part of the U23 set up in the qualifiers although he didn’t play much and considering his consistency in Portugal he is one of the players whose name was expected in the squad. But the 22-year-old from KwaMashu in KwaZulu Natal also missed out on the final squad.

*SA will do battle with Zambia, Nigeria and Ivory Coast in their group. The top three finishers at the tournament will represent the country at next year’s Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

By Prince Sobayeni

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