OUT OF THEIR HANDS: SA U23s face long odds

South Africa’s Olympic football team are in a familiar position.

Their future in the tournament is out of their hands.

They need to beat Iraq in the final Group A game against Iraq tonight (10pm) and must hope Denmark beat hosts Brazil to get to the Rio quarterfinals.

This after coach Owen da Gama’s manne “let themselves down in Sunday night’s 1-0 loss to the Danes.

The bottom-of-log South Africans created a lot of chances in the game but failed to convert and now they need to trek vinger.

Da Gama says: “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.”

The boss adds that he believes his team was unlucky not to get the win over the Europeans, after creating the better chances before a defensive slip-up by Eric Mathoho allowed the Danes to snatch the victory.

Skipper Keagan Dolly and Gift Motupa both hit the woodwork as Bafana’s U23s showed glimpses of their attacking prowess.

Da Gama says: “To a certain extent luck was not on our side, however, we let ourselves down - no two ways about it. 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.

“Dolly and Motupa were unfortunate not to score after their shots hit the woodwork.”

“There were times when I felt that there was no sense of urgency from some individuals. In some situations they should have been brave and take players on, but they didn’t.”

Denmark are top of the group with four points. Iraq and Brazil are tied on two points apiece following their goalless draw in the other match also played on Sunday night, while South Africa is bottom of the table with just one point.