29 July 2019 – South Africa’s CHAN team coach David Notoane is confident that his side will turn around the tie in the second leg which will take place at Dobsonville Stadium on Sunday, 4 August 2019 (kick off 15h00).
South Africa, fielding mostly youngsters with hardly any international experience, narrowly lost 3-2 to a full strength senior Lesotho side at Setsoto Stadium on Sunday (28 July) and Notoane believes the second leg at home will be a different ball game altogether.
The CHAN and u23 mentor said he will definitely be strengthening areas which he thought were not tight enough in the first leg.
Despite putting up a gallant fight, and almost came away with a credible result, Notoane said was disappointed by the loss.
“Disappointed because you always want to win as a coach, so I think we could have come away with a 2-2 draw. To be honest, tough game (against a full strength Lesotho Senior team) but on the balance of where we are in terms of two away goals, it gives us confidence going into the second leg to turn the tie around.
“We have to look into a few areas; defensively, we gave away two soft goals to be honest – the penalty was soft, the third goal (in the dying minutes) was soft but these are young boys, I hope they learn, we want to see them play senior football. I think Lesotho gave us that sort of a challenge,” he said.
Notoane said the team will now have a full week to prepare for the second leg, unlike the short period they had going into the first leg.
“We put in a lot of structure in what we want to do, defensively and offensively because a few days of being together, it was always going to put one on a back foot. You saw towards the end, in the last 20 minutes, the energy levels to some degree, were the difference. They put us under some pressure, so indeed two days of preparations is not ideal but it is not an excuse as well because from the structure we put in place defensively, we spoke about critical phases of the match but concede two goals from the points we had touched on,” he reflected.
“That disappoints one as a coach a little bit because we had touched on those phases and I am not happy about that. The concentration level, the mental toughness has to improve going into the second leg because Lesotho relishes long balls all the time to put you under pressure,” he added.
Notoane said he was happy with the new u20 players he brought into the team.
“What makes me happy, the changes we made towards the end, we brought in Luvuyo Phewa, under 20 graduate, Siphesihle Mkhize, another u20 FIFA World Cup graduate and I think the two gave us that punch that we needed to get the second goal. And for Luvuyo, he scored the equalising goal to make it 2-2 on his debut, so the experience these boys have taken from the World Cup stage would help us going forward but of course we can’t put them under pressure and expect too big things from them but the talent and potential and ability is there and I am looking forward say yes, in the second leg do we give them another run; because it increases our pool going into the u23 CAF Olympic qualifier against Zimbabwe. So, that actually is a huge positive I am taking away from this game, because I was looking forward to integrate them and I am happy that they responded positively,” he concluded.