Thabo Cele has received a late call-up to the U23 national team.
The midfielder was initially left out of the 40 men preliminary squad, but his strong finish to the 2020/21 Portuguese Segunda Liga season has earned him a last minute chance to impress coach David Notoane.
At the end of May, the national team will continue preparations for the Olympic games which are scheduled to start in late July of this year.
The Cosafa nation will continue their preparation with a camp in the United Arab Emirates in June. They are expected to participate in a tournament which will have the likes of Brazil and Argentina.
Cele played 29 Segunda Liga games scoring three goals and assisting a further two strikes this season. He was part of the 2017 U20 Fifa World Cup squad that played in South Korea under coach Thabo Senong and he featured in all three games as Amajita got knocked out in the group stage phase of the competition.
Notoane’s charges already had three camps which were dominated by locally-based players and it seems the Dubai camp is aimed at looking at the overseas-based contingent.
Siyabonga Ligendza, Lyle Foster and Luther Singh are amongst the players who have already jetted in for the camp while the likes of Cele, Gift Links, Sphephelo Sithole, Luke le Roux and a few more are expected to arrive in South Africa this week.
Due to the emergence of Covid19, the Olympics Organising Committee decided to move the games back by a year, but kept the rules of the competition. All players born in January 1997 will still qualify for the tournament and Cele, who’s now 24, is amongst that group of players born in 1997.
South Africa have been drawn in group A alongside hosts Japan, France and Mexico.
Their first game is against Japan on match day one of the tournament.
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By Prince Sobayeni