SA's opener blamed for faded hopes

SA National Teams

Former South Africa under-23 international David Kannemeyer believes the country's Olympic hopes were dashed in the first game against Japan.

In their opener, South Africa's Olympic football side lost 1-0 to hosts Japan after a very cagey approach deployed by coach David Notoane, which drew plenty of criticism.

In the second encounter against France, a hapless defensive display saw the team surrender their lead three times to lose 4-3 after an early missed penalty by Luther Singh.

Kannemeyer, who featured at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, says being too defensive in the first game is what led to the boys' current predicament, where they need to beat Mexico and hope for a favour from Japan, who face France in the final Group A games on Wednesday.

"How can you be scared if you are on that platform? We were sitting back [in the first game]. We can't go there and sit back," Kannemeyer tells KickOff.com.

"I don't know what the situation was but, from what I saw, we were sitting back. You can't go to a tournament and sit back and think things are going to happen in a game. 

"If you are going to go out like that, you must have counter attackers to help you. But with us sitting back, it was always going to happen that they [Japan] would score.

"Ronwen [Williams] made brilliant saves [in the first game]. Our captain defended very well, but if you sit back like that, it's always going to come and bite you. Somewhere, somehow, there's bound to be mistakes."

The former left-back says it is not all doom and gloom though as SA still has a chance - all be it slim - to make history and progress to the Olympics knockout stages for the first time ever.

"Anything is still possible, especially in tournaments. I don't think we should write them off," he says.

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