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There was a loss, a draw, and a win for Africa’s representatives on the first day of the football competition at the Tokyo Olympics.

South Africa delivered an almighty defensive performance but it was not enough to hold off hosts, Japan. Ronwen Williams pulled off 3 stunning saves as Japan secured a 1-0 victory. David Notoane’s decision to go with 3 center-backs did not quite work out as planned with South Africa having fewer than three goal attempts during the game. Luther Singh should have scored from one of those but he shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Egypt’s defensive abilities earned them a point against medal favourites, Spain. Goalkeeper, El Shennawy stood firm as the North Africans held out for a goalless draw.

Franck Kessie was the match-winner as Ivory Coast collected Africa’s first 3-point haul. A fighting Saudi Arabia had equalised after falling behind to an own goal before Kessie’s second-half strike gave Ivory Coast the win. An unlucky Doumbia was shown the red card for violent conduct very late in the game.