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South Africa in group with Egypt at African U-23 championship

09-27-2011 16:11 BJT

JOHANNESBURG, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- The South African under-23 national team has been drawn in Group A alongside hosts Egypt, Gabon and Cote d'Ivoire in the first ever African under-23 championship which will serve as last round qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The draw, conducted at the headquarters of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Cairo, Egypt on Saturday, saw Nigeria, Morocco, Algeria and Senegal sharing Group B.

After CAF's decision to turn the final phase of Olympic qualifiers into an African U-23 championship, the tournament will now be held every four years and fall in the year before the Olympics.

The inaugural championship will be held from November 26 to December 10.

Group A matches will be held at the Military Stadium, while Group B will play their games at the Arab Contractor Stadium.

The third and fourth place playoff, as well as the final, will take place at the Cairo International Stadium.

"This is a tough draw and whoever we would have got in our group would have been equally tough because all eight teams are good," said South African Football Association's (Safa) chief executive officer Robin Petersen, who was present at the draw.

"Having said that, l think this is a group that we can come out of with some positive results, and we are confident that we can make it to the London Olympic Games and join our women's team which has already qualified for the event."

South Africa take on Cote d'Ivoire on November 26 and then face Gabon three days later.

The final group stage match against Egypt will be on December 2.

The semifinals are scheduled for December 7 where the first placed in Group A will take on second placed in Group B, and first placed in Group B will face off against second placed team in Group A.

The top three teams will qualify for the London 2012 Olympics while the fourth placed side will engage a team from Asia in a playoff.


Editor:Zhang Rui |Source: Xinhua

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