DURBAN – South African U-23 coach David Notoane has blasted the treatment of his crisis laden Olympic squad.
This comes after his charges were forced to undergo isolation protocols ahead of their 1-0 Olympic opening defeat to Japan on Thursday.
Prior to the start of the games, the South African’s were already dealt a blow as they were faced with five withdrawals due to various medical reasons. They were dealt with a further blow upon arrival in Tokyo as two players and a video analyst tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in Japan.
As a result of the positive tests, 21 members of the first team were forced to isolate ahead of the game against Japan which the hosts won through a sole second half goal from Takefusa Kubo.
"One thing that I think one has to mention is the issue of stigmatisation," said Notoane.
"Often, when people come across us, you see people running away. I think that's a little disrespectful."
Notoane felt that his squad should have been afforded better treatment.
"It's something that we would appreciate as a team," he said.
"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."
Following the defeat to Japan, things do not get easier for South Africa as their next two games are against Mexico and France, two giants of world football.
"We couldn't go out to train and that limited our preparations," he said.
"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."