South Africa’s national under-23 team suffered a 1-0 in their opening group A match at the Olympics in Tokyo on Thursday, 22 July.
The South Africans went into the game at Tokyo Stadium on the back of a difficult period during their preparation stages, with some players having to pull out of the squad while two others tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Tokyo.
Were it not for the heroics of goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, the South Africans could have suffered a heavy defeat. The SuperSport United player was in good form in between the posts, making crucial saves, especially in the second half, to try to keep his side in the game.
South Africa, who participated at the Olympics in Rio in 2016, held out until the 71st minute before they conceded the opening goal of the game.
Takefusa Kuba, the Real Madrid player who spent last season on loan to Villarreal and then Getafe, scored the only goal of the game for the hosts, Kuba’s left footed shot beat Williams and the hosts, who were playing in an empty stadium, held on for the victory and vital three points in their opening game.
South Africa were not much of a threat going forward and they will be looking to make major improvements in front of goal when they take on France in their next group A match at Saitama Stadium 2002 on Sunday, 25 July.
In the other group A match on Thursday, France were hammered 4-1 by Mexico at Tokyo Stadium.