Former Bafana Bafana international Matthew Booth believes that the current national under-23 side should be making up the national side gradually.
He is off the opinion that they shouldn’t fade away like their class of Sydney 2000 that after qualifying for the Olympic games never went on to make the step up to the senior side amidst the likes of Benni McCarthy, himself, Quinton Fortune, Stanton Fredericks, Jabu Mahlangu, Steve Lekoelea and Siyabonga Nomvethe, others like goalkeeper Emille Baron, Fabian McCarthy, Abram Nteo and Ace Gulwa never made the step up.
“What was disappointing in 2000 was that the team, the core of that team never went through to Bafana for whatever reason and I am not saying that the whole team must just go straight into Bafana, you know. It must be a slow process, then eventually the core of this team should form the Bafana Bafana and if that doesn’t happen that will be very disappointing, and you have to have a certain correlation between Bafana Bafana, the under-23’s and if there’s no correlation than it’s no point in having a junior national team,” Booth told Goal.
He believes it’s a sign of great encouragement to have both male and female national sides at next year’s Rio Olympics after the under-23 male side book a spot with a 3-1 penalty shootout win over Senegal in the Caf under-23 Championships third/fourth place playoff match on Saturday.
“Yeh, it’s very positive, you know. For after 15 years, finally we’ve got a representation in the Olympic games again and like you said it’s not only the women but also the men and it’s a sign of great encouragement after the last decade that our youth will have something to offer in five to 10 years time,” Booth concluded.