Japan are hosts of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and this tie will be their first game for the men’s team to kick start the tournament.
They host a fearful South Africa squad severely depleted by COVID-19, faced a major setback after two players Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi tested positive for corona virus on arrival in Tokyo.
“Our key player (Mahlatsi) tested positive, we were building our game-plan around him. Our job has become more difficult. But at the end of the day we have to put up a team on Thursday to face up to the might of Japan” revealed the South Africa U23 Head Coach David Notoane on Monday.
Notoane said it was inevitable that South Africa’s COVID-19 challenges will catch up with them in what is already a difficult pool that also contains France and Mexico. He also regretted the fact that his side, who returned to training on Monday after a week without being on the pitch, will limp into a contest that will have the eyes of the watching world fixed on it.
France U23 and Mexico U23 are the other two countries in Group A and they will go head-to-head for the next qualification round. The “Amaglug-glug” booked their spot at the Olympics by quality of their third-place finish in CAF’s qualifying tournament two years ago. South Africa U23 edged off Ghana U23 on penalties to confirm the third and final qualification slot.
Japan U23 Vs South Africa U23 Predicted Starting 11
Japan U23 Predicted 11:
Keisuke Osako (GK), Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Reo Hatate, Ao Tanaka, Wataru Endo, Takefusa Kubo, Kaoru Mitoma, Ayase Ueda, Daizen Maeda, Daichi Hayashi.
South Africa U23 Predicted 11:
Ronwen Williams (GK), Tercious Malepe, Katlego Mohamme, Thendo Mukumela, Luke Fleurs, Teboho Mokoena, Kamohelo Mahlatsi, Luther Singh, Lyle Foster, Evidence Makgopa, Fagrie Lakay.
- Over 1.5
- Home Team full-time Win
- Both Teams to Score (NO)
- Correct Score at Full time (2-0)