David Notoane happy in spite of U-23s' defeat in Egypt

South Africa U-23 coach David Notoane's looking forward to next month's Afcon.
South Africa U-23 coach David Notoane's looking forward to next month's Afcon.
Image: BACKPAGEPIX

SA Olympic football team coach David Notoane has given an impression that more than the playing aspect, their trip to Egypt fulfilled the off-field objectives.

As part of their preparations for next month's Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt, Notoane's charges faced their Pharaohs counterparts in an international friendly at Cairo Stadium on Sunday night. The North Africans claimed a 1-0 win, thanks to Ramadan Sobhi's first-half spot-kick.

"I hope it [the defeat] prepares us, it brings back the hunger in the group coming into the tournament itself. Most importantly, I hope it's a prelude to the final because we are coming here to fight to go to the final," said Notoane.

The outing in Cairo looks to have helped SA familiarise themselves with the overall environment ahead of the tournament that runs from November 8-22.

"Logistically, off the field it [the trip] has given us an opportunity to do a dry run - distances from the hotel to the stadium . distances from the hotel to the training fields.

"Understanding also the traffic here in Egypt because sometimes you can log on to Google and it tells you one hour, but we've discovered that one hour with traffic becomes one hour and a half to two hours, and then everything gets delayed."

Notoane's troops are in Group B alongside Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Nigeria. SA take on Zambia in their first match on November 9, before locking horns with defending champions Nigeria three days later. SA's last pool game is against Ivory Coast on November 15.

Notoane is expected to announce his final squad next week. Players such as Kaizer Chiefs' Happy Mashiane and Thabiso Monyane of Orlando Pirates made their U-23 debuts on Sunday. It remains to be seen if they've done enough to make the final squad.

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