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Group A: The Tokyo Olympics

Group A of the Olympic men’s football tournament is the most interesting and competitive quartet on paper with a chance for a future champion or play-off team to come from the group.

In the Olympic men’s football tournament, Group A is most interesting and competitive of four quartets on paper. It is possible the future champion will come from this group, so it should be watch closely by those looking for an underdog winner.

The South African team

South Africa qualified for the 2020 Olympics after finishing third at the 2019 African U-23 Cup of Nations. In 2016, South Africa advanced from the group stages with a draw and two defeats at Rio Olympics in three games played.

As the FIFA World Cup qualification tallies to date show, South Africa is one of eight countries able to advance from Group A at the Tokyo Olympics.

Implication: but there are so many unknown quantities that it will be difficult for coach David Naughton or team captain Thulani Hlatshwayo to predict which players he could rely on for a victory.

Group match schedule:

  • 22 July, 11:00 am, Mexico vs France
  • July 22, 14:00, Japan vs South Africa
  • 25 July, 11:00 am, France hosts South Africa.
  • 25 July, 14:00, Japan hosts Mexico.
  • 28 July, 14:30, France vs Japan.
  • 28 July, 14:30, South Africa hosts Mexico.

A young talent to keep an eye on – Luther Singh

Luther Singh is a standout player in Group A, and he may be the one to lead South Africa into the championship round.

Singh is one of the few players on the South African Olympic team that plays internationally. Last season, while playing with Portuguese Braga, Singh scored five goals and provided five assists. Occasionally he got some great shots like this:

South Africa’s Olympic team line-up:

  1. Goalkeepers: Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Mondli Mpoto (Bloemfontein Celtic), Sifiso Mlungwana (Golden Arrows).
  2. Defenders: Katleho Mohamm (Pretoria), Luke Fleurs (SuperSport United), Sibusiso Mabiliso (Amazulu), Abbubaker Mobara (Cape Town City), Tabiso Monyane (Orlando Pirets), Tersaiu Malepe (Minay).
  3. Midfielders: Teboho Mokoena (SuperSport United), Thabo Sele (Kowa), Nkosingile Ngcobo (Kaiser Chiefs), Sipho Mbule (SuperSport United), Goodman Mosele (Orlando Pirets), Kamohelo Mahlatsi (Moroca Swellows).
  4. Forwards: Fagri Lakai (Cape Town City), Luther Sing (Braga), Evidence Makgopa (Baroka), Lyle Foster (Vitoria Guimaraes), Kobamelo Kodisang (Braga B).

Veteran leader Abboubaker Mobara

David Naughton call up player Ronwen Williams. Currently in the national team, his age is less than 20. Goalkeeper and Williams has little experience in international tournaments, but he has a lot of potential to offer South African defense.

Mobara played every minute in three group stage matches at the 2016 Rio Olympics where at this 27 years old age, still has something to give back for his country’s defense.

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