SA under 23 coach Owen Da Gama has disputed reports of a 19 man over age shortlist for the Olympic Games. Each country is allowed to pick three overage players for the Games. Da Gama says he has a list of over 200 players and its now been cut down to 69 and the players mentioned in the media are not on the list..Here are the quotes from the interview on PowerSport..
“People don’t understand how the selection criteria works.They get bits of information and process it in the way they understand it. When people ask you these selection questions,they don’t put all the facts in there,only those that suit them.I think that the confusion and reporting is a little bit of people not understanding the entire selection process.You must understand that we must lodge a list of players to SASCOC and after that we can no longer change the list.What we did is that we sent SASCOC and PSL a list of over 200 players to cover our bases in case of injuries. The list of over 200 players that we are considering for the Olympics includes under 23 players and overage players.The PSL came back and asked us to send a smaller list that they can work with. So now we gave them a list of 69 players.The last list we gave to PSL has 69 players. There is another list that will go to them because we are still looking at players.For example,Anele Ngcongca is in our overage list but he’s injured now and we must review. That’s why we must cover our bases. We have picked every possible under 23 player and a whole lot of overage players. We understand that to process 200 players was gonna be difficult for the PSL so that’s why we now have 69 but we might add to that. The unfortunate thing is we are inconsistent when we do things.When we were in Senegal,no selection questions were asked. Suddenly people are jumping on the bandwagon because we are playing Brazil and now they are asking all these things.For example, I put Phakamani Mahlambi and Sphelele Ntshangase on the big list,they are both injured,Mahlambi for 9 months but we are monitoring them. Unfortunately we can’t put the entire South Africa or the entire PSL or the entire NFD on the list,but we’ve put 200 names on our list. The reason we have put so many players on the list,over 200, is because we must monitor and give every player a fair chance. On the 29th of April our list will be finalised,on the 14th June it will be cut down to 35 and then in July to 22”- Owen Da Gama ..