13 November 2019 – Even though South Africa’s National Under-23’s win against Ivory Coast could have come in the ugliest of form in terms of style of play, coach David Notoane says he would have still welcomed the win with open arms.

However, South Africa’s 1-0 win against the West African side was not even close to the term ugly. It was, in fact, totally the opposite. Coach Notoane’s charges dictated matters from the first whistle to the last, with their first chance at goal arising just two minutes into play.

Their performance throughout the 78 minutes of play only lacked one thing, a moment of sheer brilliance to complement their play.

That moment, though, came through SuperSport United’s midfielder Teboho Mokoena who slotted in a beauty of a free kick to give his side their first win of their Group B fixtures.

Notoane admitted that Mokoena was a pleasant surprise after stepping up to score that only goal of the match.

“We are very happy to get our first win of the tournament, especially against a strong side such as Ivory Coast,” Notoane said. “This was a both tactical and physical match which needed a special moment to determine the end result, and I am glad that we are the ones who managed to come up with it.

“Mokoena was a pleasant surprise for us when he stepped up to take that free kick,” Notoane said. “We have a number of few players such as Luther Singh, Sipho Mbule and Kobamelo Kodisang who would normally take free kicks for us on any given day, however, the lad (Mokoena) felt pretty confident about this one. If you ask me, I would not have been happy to have drawn in my second group match (following their 0-0 draw in our opening group against Zambia), and I am truly happy that we were able to push for this winning result in this tie.”

As it stands, South Africa are now top of Group B with four points after two matches played.

They will face second placed Nigeria who are a point behind them in their final group tie on 15 November at the Al Salam Stadium.

That match will kick-off at 20h00.

Notoane, whose side will begin the preparations for that encounter starting with their training session on Wednesday evening, said that he and his side will prepare accordingly to fight for another winning result in their last group game.