Bafana Bafana’s U23s are in for a moerse challenge in their Olympic Games opening match against Brazil.
Barcelona’s Neymar and Bayern Munich’s Douglas Costa were chosen as over-age players for the Canaries squad in a selection packed with striking firepower.
Gabriel Barbosa, the teenage Santos striker who scored on his Brazil debut last month, was also included as one of five forwards, along with Gremio’s Luan and Gabriel Jesus, the coveted young Palmeiras striker.
Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson, Rafinha Alcantara of Barcelona and Paris St Germain defender Marquinhos were also included.
Owen da Gama’s team lost 4-1 to Japan on Wednesday night in Nagano.
But Da Gama says that is the sort of preparation they need.
He says: “I thought we did very well for the first 20-25 minutes, and then the players started complaining of heavy legs, so it had an effect on us, but that’s no excuse.
“This is all about mental strength. We’re trying to get the mental strength of these players to the highest possible level. We’re pushing them through the limits.
“That’s why I also told them this is no excuse, they’ve got to mentally adjust and just go to another level.”