South Africa U23 coach Owen da Gama has rued his side’s failure to find the back of the net following a narrow 1-0 loss to Denmark.
The defeat to Denmark marked the second game in succession that South Africa have failed to find the goal as the side managed to hold Brazil to a 0-0 draw in their opening game.
Da Gama’s side did manage to create several scoring opportunities as they hit the woodwork on three times but will be frustrated at their inability to make the chances count.
‘To a certain extent luck was not on our side, however, we let ourselves down – no two ways about it,’ Da Gama said after the match.
‘We created so many chances but could not convert any of them. At some point we had the edge, we were on top of Denmark. (Keagan) Dolly and (Gift) Motupa were unfortunate not to score after their shots hit the woodwork.
‘I also think players need to raise their hands when called to represent their country. There were times when I felt that there was no sense of urgency from some indivuduals. In some situations they should have been brave and take players on, but they didn’t.’
The coach lamented the side’s misfortune but admitted he had been pleased by the scoring chances his side had managed to create. Da Gama also stressed the significance of Mothobi Mvala’s absence, the player having been suspended following his red card against Brazil.
‘Following Mothobi Mvala’s red card against Brazil, we had to move things around. We pushed Motupa up to attack and played Kwanda Mngonyama and Deolin Mekoa in holding midfield but this didn’t work for us. Maybe we should have tried a different combination,’ added Da Gama.
‘A win would have eased the pressure of progressing to the next round after all four teams were tied on a point each from the first matches. We really let it slip against Denmark, and now we have made it tougher for ourselves, but not all is lost yet.
‘We still have the final group stages match which will determine our fate in the competition. We know it won’t be easy but we are still confident we will make it to the quarterfinals.’
South Africa’s final game of the group stage is against Iraq at 03:00 South African time on Thursday.