U23 coach used Middle East trip to prepare for the Olympics

David Notoane decries bad officiating at Saudi friendlies

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
David Notoane
David Notoane
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Apart from bewailing about the standard of officiating, SA Under-23 trainer David Notoane has sounded satisfied with what their Saudi Arabia tour accomplished.

Yesterday, Notoane and his boys touched down at OR Tambo International Airport from Saudi Arabia, where they played two friendlies with the hosts. SA lost the first game 3-2 in Jeddah's Sport City Stadium last Saturday, before managing a 1-all draw in the second clash at the same venue on Tuesday.

“We take out a lot of positives. Of course we’d have loved to end the tour with a win, but I said to the boys that it’s difficult to win in conditions like this,’’ said Notoane post the second game.

Stellenbosch’s Leletu Skelem had given SA the lead just four minutes before the hour-mark, before the hosts equalised via a penalty that was concerted by Abdul Ghareeb in the 77th minute.

“As we saw again the [match] officials were playing a different game against us, we conceded a penalty again [having conceded it in the first game as well]. But it’s okay, our focus is one of the preparations,’’ said the SA coach.

“We deserved a win, with the amount of chances that we created. We hit the post three times in the game, that gives you a lot of inspiration. Overall, one is very happy in terms of increasing the pool of players.’’

Notoane used the Middle East trip to prepare his troops for next year’s Olympics, to be staged in Tokyo, Japan. The U-23 coach also reserved a special praise for Orlando Pirates striker Zakhele Lepasa, who netted in the first game, alongside Fagrie Lakay of Cape Town City.

“Lepasa has shown his hand, he’s shown maturity and we’re happy about that. Is he the one who’ll score goals for us? Let’s hope so if he continues with his form at Pirates. It was a very successful camp overall,’’ said Notoane.

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