South Africa and Zimbabwe will represent the COSAFA region at the 2016 Olympic Games, starting on Wednesday!
South Africa have teams in both the men’s Under-23 and women’s competitions, while Zimbabwe will play in the latter tournament only.
The South African men’s side open their campaign on Thursday with a match-up against the hosts, who have included superstars such as Neymar among their over-age players.
The South Africans then take on Denmark on Sunday, before rounding out their group campaign against Iraq on August 10.
Should they advance to the quarterfinals they will face one of the top two teams in Group B, which contains Sweden, Colombia, Nigeria and Japan.
The South African women’s side will actually take part in the very first piece of sporting action at the Olympics when they open the football tournament against Sweden on Wednesday, two days before the official opening ceremony.
They then tackle China on Saturday and end their pool campaign against hosts Brazil net Tuesday.
They could qualify for the quarterfinals by finishing as one of the two best thrird-place finishers in their pool.
Likewise Zimbabwe, who have been placed in a tough Group that also contains Germany, who they meet on Wednesday, Canada (Saturday) and Australia (next Tuesday).
Zimbabwe are only the third COSAFA nation to appear in either the men’s or women’s football tournament at the Olympics, with Zambia making the finals in 1980 and 1988.