SA Olympic football team revisits Tokyo preparations

SA Under-23 coach David Notoane
SA Under-23 coach David Notoane

The South African Under-23 head coach, David Notoane, will review the team’s preparations now that the Olympic Games have officially been postponed.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Tuesday that the multi-coded events scheduled for July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo, Japan, had been postponed until next year.

The decision by the IOC followed a global call by some of its member federations and individual athletes to postpone the Games amid the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Notoane and his team are among the Olympic-bound groups that have lauded the decision to move the Games to 2021, even if it means the team has to start their preparations from scratch.

Notoane said the IOC’s call was a “guided and cautious approach in support of what is before us in terms of all measures to try to curb the coronavirus”.

A call for a boycott of the Games was lurking in the shadows and Canada had already announced its withdrawal from participating if the Games went ahead this year. The IOC had, at first, insisted on proceeding with the preparations for the event despite the Covid-19 scare.

“We welcome the decision of the IOC, the Tokyo Olympic organising committee and the prime minister of Japan for making a decision that benefits everyone,” said Notoane.

“It can only be fair that everyone is allowed an equal opportunity to prepare for the Olympics.

“However, naturally, I am disappointed. Our preparations have been destabilised with the postponement of our trip to Japan, which would have taken place now. However, the coronavirus is upon us.”

Notoane said: “We still remain hopeful that after this pandemic has gone past us and the world is stabilised, there could possibly be a review of the decision to postpone to next year.

“However, we will then look into the programme of our preparations; review and revise it post the coronavirus pandemic. We are happy now that we know where we stand. We need to acknowledge this decision because there is more to life than sport.”

Amid the nationwide lockdown, Notoane has urged “all sports-loving people to rally behind their governments and support all the measures that are in place”.

“In so saying, it means all sporting events have now been halted and we are no different. We’d like to urge all our players, our teams and coaches and the leadership to stay safe; stay home and sanitise.”


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