Sunday World

SA Under-23s plagued by problems in Japan

Football coach complains about conditions in Tokyo

- By Xolile Mtshazo

Since arriving in Tokyo, Japan, the South African Under-23 football team has been plagued by problems on and off the field, disrupting their preparatio­ns for a Covid-19-plagued Summer Games soccer tournament.

The South African junior national team lost 1-0 to host Japan in the opening Group A match on Thursday and are now under tremendous pressure to win the second tie against France at 10am today. The Under-23s then face another strong side Mexico on Wednesday at 1.30pm.

Olympic football team coach David Notoane has been complainin­g about the conditions under which his side has to prepare, alluding to the disruption­s that have hit the side since their arrival for the Games.

A source in the South African camp in Tokyo has revealed through the SA Football Journalist­s Associatio­n the type of harsh conditions the squad has had to endure.

This follows the team losing a number of players while in the country due to withdrawal­s and Covid-19 cases, however eyebrows were raised when Safa disclosed that Lyle Foster, Fagrie Lakay, Abbubaker Mobara, Sipho Mbule and standby player Keletso Makgalwa would not form part of the travelling squad.

Safa, however, did not disclose why the five players were released from the camp, except to say it was due to undisclose­d medical reasons.

On team’s arrival, three members of the team tested positive Covid-19, midfifelde­r Kamohelo Mahlatsi of Supersport United, Orlando Pirates defender Thabiso Monyane and video analyst Mario Masha, had to go on quarantine.

It has been reported that the three positive tests opened floodgates for a litany of problems as the South African contingent was shunned and subjected to some of the harshest conditions since their arrival.

“It’s been tough. They operated with two groups and have used Zoom for analysis and team meetings prior to facing a team that has had six practice matches,” said the source within the SA Under-23s camp.

“On match day, Team SA was split into two change rooms, but the other team (Japan) were al

lowed to walk around in the park. Then on Thursday the SA team had to have two Covid tests instead of one. It’s all just a stigma,” the source said.

But during his postmatch media conference Notoane was positive and praised his players for putting up a relatively decent performanc­e.

TEAM SA ATHLETES IN ACTION TODAY

Football: South Africa vs France (10am)

Rowing: Men’s Repechage (2am)

Men’s Waterpolo: South Africa v Italy (3am)

Men’s street skateboard­ing heats/final: Brandon Valjalo (3am)

Women’s Surfing: Bianca Buitendag (3am)

Women’s 100m butterfly semi-final (03:40-03:46am)

Men’s 100m breaststro­ke semi-final (04:33-04:39am)

Artistic Gymnastics (Cailtin Rooskrantz and Naveen Daries) (4am)

Women’s Cycling Road Race: Ashleigh Pasio-moolman, Carla Oberholzer (6am)

Men’s Sailing (TBA)

Diving women’s 3m springboar­d: Julia Vincent and Micaela Bouter (8am)

Women’s 100m breaststro­ke Heat 5 - Tatjana Schoenmake­r (12.45pm)

Men’s 100m backstroke Heat 5- Pieter Coetze (1.10pm)

Men’s Hockey: South Africa v Netherland­s

 ??  ?? The SA junior team lost to host Japan 1-0 in the opening Group A match on Thursday.
The SA junior team lost to host Japan 1-0 in the opening Group A match on Thursday.

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