7 October 2019 – The South Africa Men’s u23 National Team coach David Notoane said they will be going to the 8-Nations AFCON tournament in Egypt next month and try and win the competition.
Speaking on the first day of training at Marks Park, Notoane said this is one mentality he would like to inculcate into his players.
“We must go there with the mentality that we can win this tournament. It is one thing which west Africans are good at. They tell you straight away ahead of the tournament that ‘we want to win this thing’. And we must have the same mindset,” said Notoane.
The wily coach said this squad comprised of highly talented players and there is no reason why they must go to Egypt and just try to qualify for Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
“This crop of players is more than capable of just trying to qualify for the Olympics. They can win this tournament,” he added.
In a draw held last week, South Africa were drawn in Group B together with Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Zambia while Group A consists of hosts Egypt, Mali, Cameroon and Ghana.
Group A will play their games at the Cairo International Stadium while Group B will play their matches at the Al Salam Stadium.
The top three teams at the tournament will qualify to represent Africa at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
South Africa kick-start their campaign with a clash against neighbours Zambia on Saturday, 9 November, followed by the defending champions Nigeria three days later (Tuesday, 12 November). The last fixture in the group stages is against Ivory Coast on Friday, 15 November.
As part of their preparations for the AFCON u23 competition, the u23 will play their Egyptian counterparts on Friday in a practice match and an international friendly on Sunday.
Coach Notoane said playing Egypt this week is a good dry run for his players ahead of the tournament proper next month.