The national under 23 side have traveled to Saudi Arabia to play two friendly matches, as they prepare for the Olympic Games in 2021
South Africa national U23 coach David Notoane has highlighted several positives from Saturday’s friendly defeat against Saudi Arabia.
The South Africans suffered a 3-2 loss at the King Abdulaziz Sport City Stadium, with two of the goals they conceded coming in the final eight minutes of the game in Jeddah.
Cape Town City striker Fagrie Lakay, back in the Mother City last season after spells with Bidvest Wits and SuperSport United, created the first goal against Saudi Arabia with an excellent cross for Orlando Pirates marksman Zakhele Lepasa to convert.
Lakay then netted himself to get the scores back on level terms, just a few minutes before the hosts scored their injury-time winner.
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Notoane was impressed with what he saw from the 23-year-old, who was once Bafana Bafana’s youngest ever international at 17 years and five months.
“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 was quoted saying by Safa.
“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.”
The U23’s will take on Saudi Arabia again on Tuesday and Notoane says he wants his men to be more mindful of losing focus at crucial junctures of the game.
“We conceded all of our goals in the critical moments of the game,” he explained. “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.”
The matches are being used as preparation for the U23’s participation in the Tokyo Olympic Games, to be held in July and August 2021.