JOHANNESBURG – David Notoane will be hoping to pull his Under-23 national team closer to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games when they take on Angola in the second leg of the qualifiers at Bidvest Stadium this afternoon.
In the first leg away in Angola Notoane led his charges to a 3-1 win, thanks to strikes from Phakamani Mahlambi, Thendo Mukumela and Grant Mergamen, while the hosts got their consolation from Lopez Texeira. A win today will send the South Africans to the last round of the qualifiers where they’ll meet Zimbabwe or Mozambique/eSwatini.
However, that will merely allow them to qualify for Egypt’s 2019 eight-nation tournament in November, where they’ll need a top-three finish to qualify for an Olympic spot.
The Under-23s are no strangers in the Olympics Games having made the last tournament in Rio de Janero, Brazil, in 2016. However, then-coach Owen Da Gama could only propel his troops to a group stage finish.
Da Gama might have vacated the post, but if South Africa’s first leg performance against the Angolans is anything to go by, then the team is in good hands under Notoane. The 50-year-old coach has been around long enough to know what’s required to instil a winning mentality in the young lads, especially after leading the Mamelodi Sundowns’ reserve team to the MultiChoice Diski Challenge three seasons ago.