25 March 2020 – Head Coach of the South African Olympic team, David Notoane, is a relieved man after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took a decision to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to 2021.

It is not clear when the Games will be played, but discussions are underway. The organisers, in conjunction with the Japan government and the IOC said in a statement that the event will still be known as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Notoane said in a statement that they are now relieved as they know the way forward because there were a lot of uncertainties leading to the postponement.

Here is a shortened version of what Notoane had to say:

“The IOC has finally given a directive and a position in relation to the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games to next year after taking a very guided and cautious approach in support of what is before us, in terms of measures to curb the corona virus.

We welcome the decision of the IOC, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Organising Committee and the Prime Minister of Japan in making a decision that benefits everyone. It is only fair that everyone be allowed an equal opportunity to prepare for the Olympics, however, naturally I am disappointed as we were about to intensify our preparations for the Olympic games.

Of course, we also acknowledge that our preparations had been destabilized with the postponement of our trip to Japan, which should have taken place during this period, however the corona virus is here upon us.

So we still remain hopeful that after this pandemic has gone past us and the world is stabilized things will go back to normal. We will, however, look into the program of preparation – we will review and revise it post this pandemic.

We are happy now that we know where we stand, that’s the most important decision, and we support this move because there is more to life than sport.

The virus is here, and is cutting the world into pieces, so we now all have to focus all our energy into dealing with this pandemic. We would like to urge all sport loving people in South Africa and globally, to really rally behind their governments and support all the measures being put in place so that we are able to deal with this corona virus pandemic.

In so saying, I would like to urge all our players, football coaches, supporters, teams and the football leadership to really stay safe, stay at home and sanitize. Let’s have good health practices in this very difficult period, and we know that if this virus infects you, it could end up being catastrophic. We would like to support the government, led by our number one citizen Cyril Ramaphosa, for the right decision in declaring a lockdown in the country – for me that was the best news we could have ever received, given what lies ahead of us.

The decision to postpone the Olympic Games is also good news, and, funny as it is, it is such decisions that unsettle our lives, but also they are important decisions that give us direction in terms of decisions that lie before us.

So South Africans lock down is upon us, let’s stay at home, lets stay safe and let’s do whatever it takes to fight the spread of this disease because the biggest fight we have is not to deal with the infected cases but to stop the spread of the virus.

So stay safe, stay at home, protect yourselves and your families, but most importantly sanitize.

We pray to God to help us overcome this challenge so that we can come together post this pandemic and go back to our normal lives where the adrenalin of sport every weekend will be the driving force behind our lives.

May God Bless us all.

Issued by the Communications Department: SAFA

For further enquiries, kindly contact:

Dominic Chimhavi

Head of Communications: SAFA

+27 71 332 9886