Time is tight for preparation, says Under-23 coach
David Notoane is under pressure to get players gelling for the 2020 Olympic first-leg qualifier against Angola
SA Under-23 coach David Notoane has admitted he does not have enough time to prepare his new team ahead of their 2020 Olympic preliminary qualifier against Angola in Luanda on Friday.
With his overseas-based players only arriving in SA later on Tuesday‚ Notoane conceded he would have a difficult time getting his players to click as a unit.
“The challenge we have is that different clubs are playing different styles‚” said Notoane‚ who tested his new charges against the Lesotho senior national team in a warm-up friendly in Johannesburg on Monday.
“That’s the challenge with the national teams. We have to try to quickly get the synergy right tactically. Other teams play with the build-up while others kick the ball high up and play with the second ball.
“Now when you come into this space [national team]‚ you have to go with the players that will fit the national playing philosophy and play the South African way‚ which is having the ball on the ground,” he said.
“That’s our strength … to play out quicker. Some players are very good in terms of their club performances but now we are bringing a question: can they adapt quickly to the tactical demands of international football?”
The first leg against the Angolans is on Friday with the return encounter scheduled for Tuesday at the Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg.
The winner between Notoane’s team and Angola will meet either Zimbabwe‚ Mozambique or eSwatini in a game that will determine who qualifies for the Confederation of African Football eight-nation Olympic qualifying tournament.
The three teams that finish in the top three will represent Africa in Tokyo in 2020.
Notoane said trends have shifted because teams do not have time to perfect patient build-ups.
“It becomes a tricky situation and, interestingly on that‚ is that if you watched the previous World Cup  there was a study that came out of it‚” he said.
“In the previous World Cup not a lot of teams were playing with build-ups. The trend has shifted and part of the reason is simply because national team coaches don’t have the time to perfect build-up play. That needs time.
“When you don’t have time you should either have synergy between how the clubs are playing in terms of the philosophy in the country. In a country like ours, where coaches choose freely how they play the game to win‚ then it poses a challenge,” he said.
“Some players will be good in the build-up play and others won’t. So you have to find that balance as a coach‚ which makes it a challenge.”
But despite these concerns‚ Notoane insisted he is confident of a positive result in Angola even though he still has to worry about who to leave out in the starting lineup.
“It’s a good headache‚” he said of his challenge to choose the starting 11.
The South Africans will leave for Angola on Wednesday and return to SA immediately after the match on Friday.
SA qualified for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney under Shakes Mashaba and did it again in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro with Owen da Gama in charge.