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By Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Football Journalist

SA Under-23 coach laments stigmatisation at Olympics

"Often, when people come across us, you see people running away. I think that's a little disrespectful,” said Notoane.

South Africa Under-23 coach David Notoane is furious after the poor treatment his had received at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

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This after his side’s 1-0 loss to Japan at the Tokyo Stadium on Thursday.

With some members of the squad having tested positive this week during the daily Covid-19 test routines at the Olympics village, the team was forced to go on isolation before their opening match in Group A against the hosts.  

The SA Under-23 team was split in two groups, even having two changing rooms and to make matters worse, they weren’t even allowed to have their pre-match meal.

“One thing that I think one has to mention is the issue of stigmatisation. Often, when people come across us, you see people running away. I think that’s a little disrespectful,” said Notoane. 

“It’s something that we wouldn’t appreciate as a team,” he said. “When people start to run away from you when you approach them, as if there’s something wrong with you – the truth of the matter is there’s nothing wrong with us.”

“With the second game against France coming up on Sunday, Notoane will be hoping for a better preparation after the team was only able to train three days before their match against the hosts. And he is happy with the performance from his charges despite all the obstacles. 

“We couldn’t go out to train and that limited our preparations,” the SA Under-23 mentor added. 

“It was not easy sitting in the room, but overall I’m happy with the team. We responded very well, we were unfortunate to get the result today, but it was very positive.”

Ahead of the Sunday game, both SA and France will be eager for a win, with the French team having also lost their opening game 4-1 to Mexico.

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