South Africa’s National Under-23 side will push for a positive result in their second and final friendly match against Saudi Arabia.
This is according to South Africa’s National Under-23 coach David Notoane, who commended his charges for showing a great fighting spirit in their 3-2 defeat against Saudi Arabia at King Abdulaziz Sport City Stadium in Jeddah on Saturday, adding that they will bounce back from that performance.
Notoane was speaking in the light of how his charges matched their opponents who had a longer camp to prepare for this fixture, while South Africa had just one training session in Jeddah, leading up to their first friendly match against the hosts.
South Africa arrived in Saudi Arabia on 11 November, where they were held in a two-day quarantine before they could have their first and only training session a day before their first friendly match against the home side.
It is in this that Notoane stated that his charges gave their best fight under the circumstances, and reckons that they will bounce back stronger in their second friendly meeting against Saudi Arabia.
That match will take place on 17 November at King Abdulaziz Sport City Stadium at 17h00 (Saudi Arabia time).
“We came into this tie knowing that the Saudi Arabia match was going to be a challenging one,” Notoane said. “There are a whole lot of positives that we picked up from a performance point of view, though we did not come out with a win as we would have wanted.
“We conceded all of our goals in the critical moments of the game,” Notoane said. “Their first goal against us came late in the first half and they also scored two goals in the last 10 minutes of the match. This is something we can rectify leading up to our second friendly game, as we had only one training session coming from quarantine leading up to our first match.”
Notoane stated that he was pleased with some of the new faces he had roped in for assessment, adding that those of who had a sluggish starts in the first friendly, will get the opportunity to rectify where they had gone wrong in the first match.
“We brought in a whole lot of new players, some of whom are graduates from our Under-20 national setup which went to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland last year,” Notoane said. “Players like Fagrie Lakay are some of the players which have been in the Under-23 database and I am happy that he is continuing with a fine form he has been showing from his mother club for us. He was involved in the first goal that we scored and also netted the second. I am happy with how he played in our first friendly tie.
“We still have the second match for the new players to break the ice in their respective performances and show us what they can do. We will push for a positive result in the second friendly match against the Saudis.”