Tokyo Olympics

SA football coach Notoane ready for last chance at Olympics: 'Play for pride and try our best'

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Head coach of the South African Olympic Team, David Notoane. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)
Head coach of the South African Olympic Team, David Notoane. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

South Africa under-23 coach David Notoane believes his young squad is still in with a shot at making the knockout stages of the Olympic football tournament.

The national side succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against Japan in their first outing and on Sunday suffered a 4-3 loss against France in their penultimate Group A fixture.

Notoane will now hope his charges are up for a mammoth challenge against Mexico on Wednesday.

SA will need to claim a victory over the Mexicans by three goals or more, while Japan must win against France for Notoane's team to advance to the quarter-finals.

"We have to go to the last game and play for our pride and try our best to get to the next round," Notoane told reporters.

"We will go and display the kind of football that South Africa is capable of. It is a chance for the players to market themselves, and we should take the last game as our prize, and an opportunity to go home with our heads held high.

"It was a difficult, exciting, emotional game because we went for it, and they also came for it and, in the end, it was a game of margin of errors. We made more mistakes in our defensive areas than France.

"I am proud of the boys for their effort, commitment and quality of play. [As] sad as it is... but that is what football is... what more can we say?"

The South Africans are currently fourth in Group A as Japan lead the charge with 6 points, followed by Mexico in second (3 points) and France (3 points).

The much-anticipated match between SA and Mexico will kick off at 13:30 (SA time) on Wednesday.

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