Wednesday Mar 25, 2020. 13:00
The South African Football Association (SAFA) has welcomed the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Games until next year.
“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO (World Health Organisation) today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community,” read a statement from the IOC.
In response, SAFA president Danny Jordaan said the IOC has taken the correct decision, though he naturally feels for the country’s U-23 players who have secured qualification for the Olympics and their coach David Notoane.
“We were confident that with so many high-quality stars in the South African Olympic squad, this team could have made it to the second round and knock-out stages of the Tokyo Olympics,” Jordaan said in a statement.
“We want to thank head coach David Notoane who has done a magnificent job in building a highly competitive Olympic team and therefore understand his disappointment in not participating in the second-highest competition in world football.
“We will keep in touch with FIFA and hope in the case of the Euro finals which has been moved to 2021 and Copa America also moved to 2021, that IOC and FIFA will also consider these options where players can participate in a safe and non-threatening medical environment.”
Notoane admitted that he is quite disappointed but is fully behind the postponement of the world showpiece.
“The IOC has finally given a directive and a position in relation to the postponement of the Olympic Games – Tokyo 2020 to next year before summer, after taking a very guided approach and cautious approach in support of what is before us in terms of all measures to try and curb coronavirus,” said Notoane.