South Africa Olympic team win in Palestine
Posted: 16 March 2015 Time: 10:09
The South African Under-23 team beat the Palestine counterparts 2-1 at the Dura Stadium in Palestine on Saturday afternoon.
It was the Olympic team’s first match in some time, and Owen da Gama’s first in charge, but goals from Abednigo Mosiatlhaga and Yazan Iwaiwi ensured a winning return.
The hosts took the lead as early as the 10th minute with a stunning free-kick from Mohammed Maraba.
Sibusiso Mahlangu smashed his own free-kick from the edge of the box over the bar in the 19th minute, but Palestine could not withstand the pressure for too long and eventually cracked when Khayelihle Shozi’s header was spilled by goalkeeper Rami Hamada and Mosiatlhaga leveled the score in the 35th minute.
Maraba was proving to be a nuisance and after breaking through the visitor’s rear-guard on a rare occasion, found himself with the goal in sight but hurriedly blasted his chance over the top from close range.
It was to be the only time they ventured in the opposition half as the visitors turned on the charm and increased pressure with their one-touch passing game.
With the home side seemingly resigned to a stalemate, Makgoka raced down the right flank and his hard cross was expertly turned into goal by Iwaiwi in the 85th minute.
Still SA kept pushing for another goal to record a convincing victory, but the hosts held firm and that turned out to be the final score.
SA were awarded gold medals and a floating trophy, with the FA President hinting that they wish to extend yet another invitation next year.
For Da Gama, this was a perfect exercise to indicate whether he needs to strengthen the team or not ahead of Saturday’s All Africa Games qualifier against Sudan in Khartoum.