14 October 2019 – Under 23 Olympic Team coach David Notoane said while results on this tour might not be what he envisaged, he was happy the dry run visit achieved most of the targets.
South Africa drew with Egypt 1-1 in a practice game in Ismailia on Friday and lost narrowly 1-0 in a once off friendly match on Sunday to complete a week-long visit to the AFCON u23 8-Nations tournament hosts that will take place in November.
“I think it (the tour) was a very, very important step to come here in terms of experience, to gauge what we will be up against when we come for the tournament. This include logistics on and off the field.
“It has given us an opportunity to do a dry run, things as distances from the stadiums, from the hotel to the stadiums and training fields and also understanding the heavy traffic here in Egypt.
“We also looked at the condition of the hotel, the food and all those elements. And from the weather perceptive, we have tremendous benefit as the matches will be played in the afternoon and in the evening, so this visit was critical,” said Notoane.
He said the visit also allowed him to have a look at the players without the glare of the public and media pressure.
“We had a good chance to look at the players without lots of pressure, who is fragile and who adapts quicker to the surfaces and who is strong for the war. The results might not be what we wanted but I think this trip had more to do with information gathering than just achieving results. It gave us an opportunity to watch all players and think of all permutations,” he added.
“The only concern I have is that we should improve on our finishing because in competitions like this AFCON u23 tournament, chances are few and when they present themselves, you have to take them. Egypt had one or two chances and they grabbed their chance, but we had a glut of chances which I think we could have converted,” concluded Notoane.