8 October 2019 – Under 23 coach David Notoane said while the final squad for the 8-Nations tournament will only be finalised upon the team’s return from the trip to Egypt this week, most of the players essentially have selected themselves through their sterling performances in the national team and club level.
The Olympic Team leaves for Egypt on Wednesday where they will play a practice match and friendly international game on Friday and Sunday before returning home to finalise their preparations for the 8-Nations AFCON tournament which starts in November in Cairo, Egypt.
South Africa are Group B together with Nigeria, Zambia and Ivory Coast.
“The team has selected itself but I will leave the door open for new inclusions but after coming back from Egypt, we would have our final team definitely,” said Notoane on Tuesday.
The coach said he was brimming with confidence with this bunch of players most of who are key players at their respective clubs.
“When we started this project, most of the players were fringe players and most were on the bench, playing 10 minutes, 20, 30 minutes and we gave them a challenge that use the national team platform to push your coaches. Use the national team platform to answer questions which your club coaches might have, the doubt they might have, push your way in and see what we have today; we have Sipho Mbule who was on the bench and frustrated but look where he is now. He is now a regular, a player who is scoring goals and with an MTN 8 title.
“Most of these guys are now regulars in their respective teams playing in week in week out and that humbles me, makes me happy and makes our jobs easier because when players are playing regularly it makes our task easier,” added Notoane.
The coach said he was going to the 8-Nations tournament aiming for the highest accolade.
“When I look at what we have and after Angola’s first match, I thought we have the best and we might sell ourselves short by aiming only for Tokyo 2020.”
He said this team must believe that they can conquer Africa.
“Let’s believe that we can go out there and win things and let’s start sending out the message that South Africa is capable of winning; because out there the perception of the country at junior level is that we are weak mentally and that we are fragile. We need to go into this tournament, with this generation of players who are talented and experienced, to change that perception.
“We need to send out a new message that says we are capable of becoming a dominant force at all levels. So yes, we want to win the tournament in addition to qualifying for the Olympics,” he concluded.