The South African under-23 men’s national team assembled for camp on Monday afternoon to prepare for the CAF U23 Olympic Qualifiers. They take on Congo in a first leg match at Dobsonville Stadium on Thursday, 23 March. 

They will then travel to the Massamba-Debat Stadium for the second leg on Monday, 27 March. 

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Coach David Notoane shared some insight regarding the first training session. 

“It’s good that we have gotten to integrities of hard work that goes with being at camp day one,” Notoane said. 

“We have a lot of new players that are being integrated into this camp. Of course with a lot having been active during this past weekend.  

He indicated that today’s session just needed to look at a few items in order to be effective. He expressed his satisfaction with the way things are at the moment. 

“Today’ sessions was more to check who’s where, recovery session, tactical preparations in terms of certain small details without taking them through an intense session.  

“So, one is happy so far with the outlook of the team in terms of the ideas we are trying to put together in preparation for the game on Thursday. A very important game for us to get victory,” he added.  

When asked about the team’s readiness with only two more practices left before the game. Notoane acknowledged that they have less time to prepare. Yet, his team has developed a foolproof strategy to ease their burden. 

“It’s not the best of preparations in terms of the number of days available, but it comes with the national team’s program. 

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“We’ve adjusted things of course based on that. Tomorrow we’re putting everything together pretty much in terms of our permutations, we’ve got a very talented group of players with different qualities and abilities.  

“It’s going to be the toughest job to get the right players that feed into the tactical plan for the match.  

“And have preparations in terms of training to ensure that we maximise our happiness and readiness of being sure. That’s the biggest challenge but we will also rely on video analysis to see who grasps what very quickly.  

The 54-year-old coach stated that his team is prepared, that he has the strongest group, and that they are knowledgeable enough about their opponent. 

“So far, I think we will be ready for Congo. We know what they are about, and we will put together permutations as they stand now. For me as a coach I am kind of spoilt [with choices]. Because with any permutations we can put upfront there it’s permutations that can be firing on all cylinders and it’s very important that we get goals in this game. Especially the first leg,” he concluded.

By Sinolwetu Tompela