Coach not happy with three goals U23 side conceded in first match

Notoane promises better show in next game against Saudis

Neville Khoza Journalist
SA U23 coach David Notoane.
SA U23 coach David Notoane.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Having seen his side lose 3-2 to Saudi Arabia in the first of two friendly matches in Jeddah, SA under-23 coach David Notoane promised that the team would be better when they meet again tomorrow.

Saturday's match took place at King Abdulaziz Sport City Stadium, which is also the venue for tomorrow's encounter.

The coach is using the two friendly matches as part of his preparations for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

Though he was disappointed with the result, especially how they conceded the goals, he said there are positives that he would to build on.

“I think we are good enough [to win]. We are competitive enough. We matched [the] Saudis, who have been in camp [for a while],” Notoane told Safa media yesterday.

“We had two days stuck in a hotel, quarantined, and we had one [training] session. So on the balance of where we are, and if you look at the moments in which we conceded the goals, then you can factor in [the lack of] preparations.”

Notoane highlighted areas where he says the team needs to improve after they conceded late in injury time on two occasions, first towards the end of the opening half and with the last kick of the match.

Zakhele Lepasa and Fagrie Lakay scored the goals for SA, while Ayman Alkhulaif, Nasser Oloran and Ramzi Holan netted for the Saudis. 

“Usually in those critical phases of the game, fatigue sets in and concentration goes. It is something we worked on and highlighted, that it is going to be a mental game,” Notoane said.

“From a performance point, we take a lot of positives, a lot of encouragement. We are disappointed with the result, but I’m more disappointed in the way we lost the match.

“We conceded all the goals, I think, in the critical moments of the game. Injury time before halftime, we conceded a goal and in the last 10 minutes, we conceded two goals, with a penalty right at the death, [in] injury time.”

Notoane pointed out that the long Covid-19-induced layoff and the introduction of new payers to the team had been challenging.

“But we collected a lot of information to help prepare for the second game and also map the way forward as we prepare towards the Tokyo Olympics.”

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