South Africa included two ‘wild cards’ — goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and centre-back Erick Mathoho — in a squad named Thursday for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games football tournament.
Both play for Soweto club Kaizer Chiefs and are regulars for Bafana Bafana (The Boys), the national senior team.
While worldwide qualifying for the competition is restricted to under-23 footballers, three over-age footballers or ‘wild cards’ can be included in the 18-player tournament squad.
Coach Owen de Gama chose two foreign-based strikers, Lebogang Mothiba from French club Lille and Tyroane Sandows from Brazilian outfit Gremio.
South Africa qualified by coming third in the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations and are in Group A with hosts Brazil, Denmark and Iraq.
The top two finishers progress to the quarter-finals.
South Africa stunned Brazil 3-1 in their only previous Olympics football appearance, 16 years ago in Sydney, but defeats by Japan and Slovakia cost them a place in the knockout stages.
Goalkeepers: Jody February (Ajax Cape Town), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs)
Defenders: Tercious Malape, Abbubaker Mobara (both Orlando Pirates), Rivaldo Coetzee (Ajax), Erick Mathoho (Chiefs), Kwandakwensizwa Mngonyama (Maritzburg Utd), Tebogo Moerane (Wits), Mothobi Mvala (Highlands Park)
Midfielders: Keagan Dolly (Mamelodi Sundowns), Deolin Mekoa (Maritzburg), Maphosa Modiba (Mpumalanga Black Aces), Gift Motupa (Pirates), Phumlani Ntshangase (Wits)
Strikers: Menzi Masuku (Chippa Utd), Tashreeq Morris (Ajax), Lebogang Mothiba (Lille/FRA), Tyroane Sandows (Gremio/BRA)
Coach: Owen da Gama