Tokyo Olympics

David Notoane hopes mistakes learned at Olympics will benefit Bafana Bafana in future

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David Notoane (Gallo Images)
David Notoane (Gallo Images)

South Africa under-23 head coach David Notoane admits it is disappointment not advancing beyond the group stages at the Tokyo Olympics.

Notoane's charges began their football tournament last Thursday, ahead of the opening ceremony, with a 1-0 defeat against Japan, followed by a 4-3 loss to France on Sunday.

On Wednesday, South Africa needed a victory by two goals or more against Mexico for a ticket to the quarter-finals, while Japan would have to beat France in the other Group A match.

However, Mexico's comfortable 3-0 win ended South Africa's Olympic dream.

"Again, defensive mistakes, 2-0 going to the break, it was far off from us. We were really not in the game, we didn't really push Mexico, but they really pushed us," said Notoane.

"We knew we're playing against an efficient team, a team good in their patterns of attack, breaking down your attack in the middle, and we made those mistakes.

"I think in the second half, we managed to bring life into the boys, self-belief in the boys to try to get back into the game, but unfortunately, we conceded the third goal.

"[It was a] difficult evening, no legs in the boys. The France game took a lot out of the game, and it really showed (against Mexico). Overall, I'm disappointed to be out of the tournament, but we can take a lot of lessons out of this game (Mexico), out of this tournament going forward."

Notoane is hopeful that the experience of Tokyo will benefit the senior national side, Bafana Bafana, in the future.

"Nonetheless, the boys gave it their best shot out of the difficult conditions and circumstances out of the Tokyo Olympics 2020," he added.

"So, we just have to knuckle down and dust ourselves and face the South African public for having disappointed them in terms of the expectations from us; it comes with the game.

"It gets to show a lot of emotional intelligence and be accountable for our showing here in Tokyo. Hopefully, the boys will graduate and take this to Bafana Bafana as we strive to make it a better team.

"For me, it was a fantastic opportunity to be here, and a lot of important lessons learnt on and off the field. The young players can only grow from here." 

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