SA Under-23’s still very much in the Olympic queue

David Notoane. Pic: BackpagePix)

David Notoane says South Africa are determined to get on a flight to Tokyo next year for the 2020 Olympics, by beating Ghana tonight in their third-place player-off at the Caf Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations at the Cairo International Stadium. 

Only the winner of this game will join Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations finalists Ivory Coast and Egypt at the Olympics.

Notoane says the journey has been exhausting for his charges, especially their 3-0 semifinal loss to Egypt, but they have been able to lift their spirits ahead of this daunting match.

“We have a big game against Ghana, of course, the most important thing is to buy our ticket to Tokyo. We are queuing at the moment ready to check-in, so we will see if we are going into a plane or not. It’s been a tough journey, it’s been a tough trip, especially the last time game, it was dramatic and very emotionally draining,” said the Under-23-coach.

“Tactics no tactics, what matters is to go to Tokyo, I’m sure it’s the same for Ghana. We are looking forward to the game. And for course, there was not much time to prepare for the game, but mentally we have already started with the preparation. It’s more about the mind, the heart, the hunger and the desire to go to Tokyo,” he added.

While Egypt beat South Africa 3-0 in the semis, Ghana lost to the Ivory Coast 3-2 on penalties after the two sides finished their game locked at 2-2.

The Black Meteors will also be desperate to get to the Olympics and it should prove to be an extremely tense encounter this evening, certainly adding spice to the third-fourth play-off that often proves to be a bit of a dead rubber. But on this occasion, there is no such things as a dead rubber.

“Never give up at all in life, The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification dream is still on course,” tweeted Ghana winger Evans Mensah after the Ivory Coast defeat.

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