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SA’s Olympic medal quest off to a rocky start

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Coach David Notoane’s Covid-hit AmaGlugGlug side looked low on energy throughout the match and played on the back foot in the Tokyo National Stadium.

Takefusa Kubo of Japan celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates. Picture: Reuters, Edgar Su

TEAM SA’s search for gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games started with the soccer team losing 1-0 to hosts Japan yesterday.

Coach David Notoane’s Covid-hit side looked low on energy throughout the match and played on the back foot in the Tokyo National Stadium.

AmaGlugGlug, however, were disciplined enough to frustrate a free-flowing Japan side, with 20-year-old Real Madrid players Takefusa Kubo and Daichi Hayashi keeping SA’s Tercious Mapele-marshalled defence on their toes.

It was goalkeeper Ronwen Williams who was SA’s busiest player, making two point-blank saves before Kubo fired in a left-foot strike with 20 minutes to go.

Luther Singh had SA’s best chance from virtually the penalty spot, but fired straight at the keeper.

SA now face bottom Group A side France on Sunday 10am, after Les Bleus lost 3-1 to Mexico.

With the opening ceremony taking place today, South Africa also have hockey, rowing and water polo action this weekend before Rio bronze medalists Rugby Sevens team take the field at 4am on Monday morning.

Tomorrow morning, the rowing pairs team Luc Daffarn and Jake Green get their oars wet in the first heat of the competition at 3.20am and the Fours quartet of Lawrence Brittain, Kyle Schoonbee, John Smith, Sandro Torrente compete at 5.10am.

Staying with aquatics action, the women’s water polo team face off with Group A rivals Spain at 11.20am in the preliminary round.

On the hockey field, both the men’s (vs Great Britain at 11.30am) and women’s (vs Ireland at 2.15pm) teams are in action.

Then on Sunday, the men’s water polo team meet Italy in the Group A prelims action at 3am before the men’s hockey side cross sticks with then Netherlands at 2.15pm.

Weekend Olympic schedule

Tomorrow

Water Polo

Women’s Preliminary Round – Group A: SA v Spain (11.20am)

Rowing

Men’s Pair Heat 1 (3.20am), Men’s Four Heat 1 (5.10am)

Hockey

Men’s Pool B: Great Britain v SA (11.30am)

Women’s Pool A: Ireland v SA (2.15pm)

Sunday

Water Polo

Men’s Preliminary Round – Group A

SA v Italy (3am)

Football

France v SA (10am)

Hockey

Men’s Pool B

SA v Netherlands (2.15pm)

Monday

Rugby Sevens

SA v Ireland (4am)

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