By Sudipto Ganguly
TOKYO (Reuters) – With two days to go till their opening Olympic soccer match towards hosts Japan, South Africa’s coach David Notoane stated the well being of his gamers was his primary concern after COVID-19 left their preparations in disarray.
Severely depleted by coronavirus infections and withdrawals earlier than they left for the Video games, the squad confronted additional setbacks on the weekend after two gamers and a video analyst examined constructive in Tokyo.
“My greatest concern in the intervening time will not be going through Japan, however is the well-being, the well being of the gamers,” Notoane advised reporters on Tuesday on the Tokyo Stadium, saying he had simply 17 gamers left to select from.
They returned to coaching on Monday after every week’s absence, giving them little or no time to acclimatise to a brand new setting.
“(We’re) coming into … new climate patterns the place it is scorching, it is humid. We come out of winter in South Africa,” he stated.
Pissed off however resigned to a information convention dominated by questions on COVID-19, Notoane stated his crew had been grateful for the possibility to compete in Japan, provided that “the worst-case situation may have been that we’re suspended from the match”.
South Africa had been trying to fly in reinforcements for his or her remaining Group A pool matches towards France and Mexico, he added.
“Mentally it’s totally robust,” he stated. “It is not what we got here right here for, it isn’t what we anticipated. We have completed all the pieces in our energy to ensure we are available in clear 100%, nevertheless it’s additionally troublesome to be in isolation in the intervening time for many of us.
“…Nonetheless, as a bunch, we all know that we have now a chance on Thursday.”
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; enhancing by John Stonestreet)