South Africa/Morocco: U23 Completes First Training Session in Morocco

The South African Under 23 Men's National Team is receiving messages of support ahead of their crucial bid to qualify for next year's Olympic Games in London.

The latest to offer words of encouragement and good wishes was Elvis Shishana, a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the South African Football Association (SAFA). He is currently serving as the Head of Delegation for the South African team in Morocco.

Shishana reminded the players of vital messages they received from Minister of Sports and Recreation Fikile Mbalula and SAFA President Kirsten Nematandani ahead of the team's departure on Wednesday (23 November 2011).

"The Minister and the SAFA President have assured you of the support from the millions of South Africans back home. I was particularly impressed when I saw that there was a South African flag and a national team jersey displayed when the Minister and the President delivered their motivational talk. The two National symbols indicate that you carry the hopes and aspirations of our nation on your shoulders, especially after the disappointment of the AFCON 2012," said Shishana.

With the arrival and other formalities out of the way, the squad got down to business under the leadership of Mashaba, his assistant Manqoba Mngqithi and goalkeeper coach Wendell Robinson.

The training session was held at the Sidi Youssef Ben Ali Stadium, famously known for hosting the IAAF World Youth Championships in 2005.

Mashaba and Mngqithi focused on tactics with the in-field players for two hours while Robinson worked on the goalkeepers' agility and timing.

"I am quite happy with our first training session in Marrakech, and was particularly impressed with the players' attitude throughout the morning training session. The session was about tracking and keeping possession of the ball in the three thirds of the field. All the 21 players have shown commitment and hunger for success, and now I can declare that the battle is on. The spirit is good in the camp and I'm convinced that we will do well," said Mashaba after the morning training session.

For the afternoon training session, the South Africans will play a practice match against a local team at the same training venue, starting16h00 local time in Marrakech (18h00 South African time).

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