Head coach of the Burger King-sponsored South African U20 Men’s National Team (Amajita), Thabo Senong, says his charges are facing a big test they face their counterparts from Mozambique in the second leg second round of the CAF U20 Africa of Nations qualifiers.
The two countries come face to face on Sunday, 20 May 2018 at Moruleng Stadium near Rustengburg. Entry is free and kickoff is at 15h00.
Amajita snatched a 1-1 draw in the first leg played a week ago (Saturday, 12 May) in Beira City, Mozambique.
It was South Africa’s first match together as a team, but Senong they are better prepared this time around.
“Having spent the whole week in Rustenburg has fast-tracked our adaptation, the boys look to be well-settled, and the weather will suit us because it is not as hot as it was last Saturday, so we expect better energy levels and a better performance with good intensity,” said Senong after the squad’s final training session at the match venue.
“If you look at them emotionally and socially they have gelled well as a team – they are now one. We now just need to apply it in the game to see if we will be able to gel as a team when we defend or attack, that will be very key. It is a good test for the boys and it is a good test for the coaching staff, and I am positive it is a test that we will definitely enjoy and will give us good outcomes.”
South Africa missed a couple of numerous chances in the first leg, and the focus this week was on converting their chances.
“Focus has been on trying to create chances and converting them, but also we made sure we have to be organised even in our defending because the game plan is not to concede but to score one or two goals and control the proceedings,” added Senong.
“We had a good week in terms of preparations, the boys are looking very good and the team spirit is excellent. The other boys are ready, we are all prepared and geared up towards this important match. We are not feeling any pressure because pressure comes with less preparations and we have tried hard to tick all the boxes, it’s just for the boys to go there and enjoy the 90 minutes and try to apply what they have been taught, and hopefully, the results will be on our side.”
A groin injury has ruled out midfielder Goodman Mosele from the match – he also missed the first leg as he was not part of the match day squad.
The overal winner between South Africa and Mozambique will meet the winner between Malawi and Angola.
The victorious country in the third and final round of the qualifiers will book their place in the eight-nation CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, which will take place in Niger from 24 February to 12 March 2019.
Eight nations will participate in the competition – and the the top four countries will qualify as African representatives for the 2019 FIFA U20 tournament to be held in Poland.