South African U23 assistant coach Thabo Senong and defender Tercious Malepe have linked up with the national side in Brazil.
The duo remained behind in South Africa to help Amajita qualify for the U20 African Cup of Nations with Senong as coach and Malepe captaining the side, reports Safa.net.
The South African U23 side defeated Lesotho 5-0 on aggregate to book their place in the U20 Afcon in Zambia next year.
The pair had to cut their celebrations short and immediately fly to link up with the U23 side for their 2016 Rio Olympic Games preparations.
Malepe insists that so far his career has been a roller-coaster ride after representing South Africa at U20, U23, and the senior team, he is now relishing the chance to make his mark at the Rio Olympics.
‘You know life is funny. Less than three months ago my team (Moroka Swallows) was relegated from the national first division and a few days after that I was called up to the Amajita squad. Now I am capped at U20, U23, and Bafana Bafana level and find myself at the world’s biggest sporting event,’ Malepe said.
‘We have also just qualified for the U20 Afcon and I was part of the 2016 Cosafa Cup-winning squad in Namibia. That is just unbelievable.’
He added: ‘There are no words to describe my feelings, I guess it is the power of the Lord Almighty. I am here to make my mark and build on the glory that has being bestowed upon me. I am also happy to see my other teammates and cannot wait to for the Games to begin.’
After Malepe returned to the Olympic squad, only four players are yet to report for national team duty.
Keagan Dolly and Lebo Mothiba are expected to arrive on Thursday following their part in Mamelodi Sundowns’ Caf Champions League clash against Egyptian giants Zamalek.
Meanwhile, Itumeleng Khune and Erick Mathoho will arrive on Wednesday on August 3, after their Carling Black Label Cup clash against Orlando Pirates.
Owen da Gama’s men will face hosts Brazil in their opening fixture at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games at the Mane Garrincha Stadium on August 4.
Image: Safa website
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