Phil Masinga: Owen da Gama's U-23s need goals at Rio Olympics


Ten-man South Africa held the tournament hosts to a goalless stalemate in Brasilia on Thursday.

Da Gama's side next face Denmark – who also drew 0-0 with Iraq in their first Group A match – on Sunday before tackling the west Asian nation.

The top two teams from the pool will advance to the quarter-finals of the competition.

“I was impressed with the way the boys played in their match against Brazil. We did well when nobody gave us a chance," Masinga tells

“One positive aspect is that the defence was good so I think we will be quite strong in this area in the next matches as well.

“If a team is able to maintain their shape even after being reduced to ten men against a quality side like Brazil, then the coach will be quite happy.

“However, I think Da Gama will be concerned that Mothobi Mvala will not be available for the next match.

“To me, it is important for us to score goals in the remaining matches of the group. A win and a draw should be enough to take the team to the quarterfinals.”

However, Masinga, who earned 58 international caps, describes both Denmark and Iraq as “skilful teams” capable of ruining South Africa’s chances.

“Against Brazil I think we were sluggish going forward, especially on the counter attacks. I suppose maybe because with a team like Brazil, one has to be cautious.

“There is no doubt that a positive result in the next match will take South Africa closer to making it through,” Masinga concludes.

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