South Africa’s Olympic soccer coach hit out at “stigmatisation” of his Covid-hit squad, after they have been pressured to isolate earlier than their 1-Zero defeat to Japan on Thursday. David Notoane stated he had seen “people running away” from his crew, after two gamers and a video analyst examined constructive for coronavirus on Sunday. Twenty-one members of the crew contingent have been pressured to isolate within the build-up to their event opener, after being named shut contacts on Monday.
South Africa finally misplaced in opposition to the hosts after a 71st-minute Takefusa Kubo purpose, however the build-up to the match left a bitter style in Notoane’s mouth.
“One thing that I think one has to mention is the issue of stigmatisation,” he stated.
“Often, when people come across us, you see people running away. I think that’s a little disrespectful.”
South Africa have been pressured to overlook two coaching classes, with gamers confined to their rooms after being named shut contacts.
Notoane refused to make use of the disruptions as an excuse, saying “rules are rules” and praising his gamers for his or her efforts.
But he additionally urged individuals to “treat us humanely”.
“It’s something that we would appreciate as a team,” he stated.
“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.”
Athletes designated as shut contacts on the Games should take a look at destructive six hours earlier than their occasion to be allowed to compete.
There have been fears that the match wouldn’t be capable to go forward if South Africa have been unable to register the required minimal 13 gamers.
But they cleared that hurdle with six substitutes named on their bench, and virtually claimed an unlikely level in opposition to Japan with a battling efficiency.
“When what happened happened with Covid, we lost a few players and the quality of the team was diluted a bit, so we had to mentally pull together as a group,” stated Notoane.
“I always said to the players that we had to take the spirit of the African lion into this tournament.”
South Africa held out in opposition to Japan till Real Madrid starlet Kubo reduce into the field and uncorked a left-foot shot contained in the far put up for the winner.
South Africa defender Tercious Malepe admitted the build-up to the sport had been powerful, however stated the efficiency gave him hope that the crew may attain the quarter-finals.
South Africa additionally play France and Mexico in Group A.
“We couldn’t go out to train and that limited our preparations,” he stated.
“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.”
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