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.