SuperSport United midfielder Teboho Mokoena has admitted that he was looking to impress scouts at the 2020 Olympic Games.
The 23-year-old player played an instrumental role in helping South Africa qualify for the global competition as the team finished third at the 2019 Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.
Mokoena netted South Africa's only goal in the group stage against Ivory Coast and they secured their place in the Olympic Games' Men's Football tournament after defeating Ghana on penalties in the third-place play-off match.
This year's Olympic Games were scheduled to take place in the Japanese capital city Tokyo between July and August 2020, but the competition has been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I worked hard to help the team qualify for the Games. I wanted to go there and use the platform to market myself in front of European scouts," Mokoena told Daily Sun.
“I would love to see myself playing in Europe someday and was looking forward to being in Japan. I’ve been thinking about the Games a lot this week.”
Mokoena will be 24 years old by the time the tournament starts on July 22, but Fifa has extended the age limit to 24 from 23 following the Games’ postponement due to Covid-19.
“I’ll be gutted if I don’t go to the Games next year. It’s always been my dream to debut at the Olympic Games since we qualified," he continued.
“I’ll be sad if I don’t go and my best bet of going to Tokyo is to continue working very hard at club level and at Bafana Bafana."
The 2019/20 domestic season was also affected by Covid-19 as the campaign has been suspended since March.
Mokoena and his SuperSport teammates recently resumed training ahead of the PSL resumption and he explained that he is slowly getting used to training in a small group of five players.
“We just have to get used to the new reality, and the faster we get used to this kind of training, the better for us all," he added.
The City Press recently reported that PSL is considering cancelling the suspended season due to their stand-off with the South African Football Association (Safa) over when the campaign should resume.
However, Mokoena has pleaded with the PSL not to declare the season null and void with Matsatsantsa placed third on the league standings.
“As players and as a team, we prefer to finish the season and play 30 games,” the former South Africa under-20 international added.
“We didn’t come back to training for anything else, but finish the season. Finishing the season is a matter of principle. Every one of us wants to see where their teams will finish on the log.
“It’s only fair to finish the season in the field of play and not inside the boardroom. That’s my biggest wish and my plea to the powers that be."