SA U-23 coach Notoane says Zimbabwe will be ‘very tough’ opponents

David Notoane, coach of South Africa during the 2019 U20 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers South Africa Training at the UJ Stadium, Soweto on the 19 March 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
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South Africa Under-23 coach David Notoane expects a tough encounter against Zimbabwe in June‚ in a qualifier where the winner will reach the 2019 Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations.

Young Bafana got off to a confident start on their path to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics‚ beating Angola 6-1 on aggregate‚ wrapping up the tie with a 3-0 second leg win at Bidvest Stadium on Tuesday night.

Notoane said SA had sent scouts to watch Zimbabwe’s second-round tie against Mozambique‚ where the Young Warriors won 2-0 on aggregate.

“Ja‚ it’s a tough one. We expected it‚ in any case. We have sent our foot-soldiers to go and check what Zimbabwe are about‚” Notoane said.

“But we know traditionally Zimbabwe has very talented footballers. So we’ll prepare accordingly.

“We’ll see where they are strong and try to exploit their weaknesses. And of course‚ continue to build our team in terms of how we want to play the game.”

The top three finishers at the U-23 Afcon reach Tokyo 2020.

SA’s tie against Zimbabwe takes place in the off-season of the Premier Soccer League (PSL)‚ and on a Fifa International date‚ so Notoane knows he can have a full-strength team available again‚ and can perhaps organise a longer training camp.

The first leg is in South Africa on June 5 and second in Zimbabwe on June 9.

“The PSL season will be wrapped up. It can change the dynamics of our camps‚ work a bit longer‚ work on tactical aspects of our game – get one or two friendlies in‚” Notoane said.

“We haven’t seen Bongani Sam‚ who is a fantastic wingback. We haven’t seen Kabelo Seriba‚ another fantastic wingback who is in Latvia [playing for FK Metta/LU].

“We also want to see what Siya Ngezana is about in terms of his contribution to the group.

“This first group have really raised their hands over the two legs to show their quality. Now we look forward to the opportunity to bring in the remainder of the group who we had in camp now.”

SA’s goals on Tuesday were scored by the SuperSport United pair of Jamie Webber in the 10th minute and Teboho Mokoena in the 70th‚ with Portugal-based Luther Singh adding a third in the 93rd.