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Notoane – Prepared? Yes, But Under Prepared!

South African national U23 head coach David Notoane says that while they are prepared as they embark to the Tokyo Olympics, he admits they are also under prepared.

The Covid-19 pandemic, which forced the Tokyo Games to be postponed by a year, has caused chaos with Notoane’s preparations, and two planned camps in the Middle East had to be cancelled.

While Notoane faced obstacles in selecting his squad, with a number of players unavailable, it is the lack of competitive friendlies that has made the coach’s preparations all the harder.

Trips to Dubai and Saudi Arabia were cancelled, and while they did play two friendlies against Egypt, they are set to play only one more friendly before the tournament, when they face Australia next week.

“A bit under prepared,” Notoane told iDiski Times on the eve of the team’s departure. 

“If I said to you, we are prepared, yes, but under prepared. 

“You know, as you can see, the issue of covid has really sent our things upside down, we can’t get the games that we wanted. 

“But ja, I think we building up a good team tactical understanding, which is very, very important, at least out of this camp. 

And we’ll get to Tokyo knowing that at least we are prepared from our side. Whether we are prepared, whether we have that competitive edge, we’ll see in the first game.”

On a lighter note, Notoane says a lot has changed in the past 17 years, when the coach had his last ‘Olympic moment.’

“The most exciting thing to share with you actually was in 2004, with the Athens Olympics,” Notoane told Rob Delport.

“I was part of the team that was torchbearers, you know, with Edries Burton if you remember, yeah.

“So it’s gone full circle for me. Now I’ve moved from carrying that Olympic torch, to chasing the medal, which I’m very excited about.”

South Africa face hosts Japan in the opening game of the Olympics football tournament.