The South African National u20 Men’s National team (Amajita) went down 2-1 to Guinea in the CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations 3rd and 4th place play-off on Sunday afternoon to lose out on a bronze medal.
Having achieved their first mandate of reaching the FIFA u20 World Cup in South Korea in May, coach Thabo Senong fielded fringe players in this encounter but despite gaining greater possession throughout the match, Amajita’s backline problems resurfaced again.
First, they conceded an own goal from a very innocuous situation and then when both teams had resigned to a penalty shootout, captain Tercious Malepe conceded a penalty when he handled in the box to consign South Africa to fourth place finish.
Liam Jordan opened the scoring for South Africa in the 5th minute after a great through ball was played to him by Sipho Mbule. However, Guinea found themselves on equal terms just two minutes later when Katlego Mohamme scored an own goal when he headed past goalkeeper Sanele Tshabalala. His looping header gave Tshabalala no chance.
Amajita had numerous chances to go ahead again but spurned several chances, something they were going to leave to regret.
Guinea were forced to make a substitution at the beginning of the second half after Daouda Camara was forced to come out due to injury, he was replaced by Naby Bangoura.
The second half saw both sides create scoring opportunities but goalkeepers Tshabalala and Moussa Camara stood out with their world class saves.
Coach Thabo Senong made two changes with Luther Singh coming on for Itumenelg Shopane in the 53rd minute and Sibongakonke Mbatha in the 60th minute.
But it was Guinea substitute Naby Bangoura who had the final say when he scored from the penalty spot.
“This has been a great tournament and I am very happy that all the players got a chance to play. Guinea is a good team and we had chances, especially in the first half where we could have at least had two goals and seal the match.
“Unfortunately we conceded an own goal and the penalty which are part of bizarre things we always try to avoid in the game of football,” said Senong.