Head coach of the South Africa, Thabo Senong, says he is pleased with how his charges performed as they finished third at this year’s CAF Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Niger.
Amajita defeated Nigeria 5-3 on penalties to win bronze, after the two sides were tied at 0-0 apiece at the end of the 90 minutes regulation time.
The clash took place on Saturday, 16 February 2019 at Stade General Seyni Kountche in the capital Niamey.
“I am very proud of my boys for producing a winning result against Nigeria,” Senong said. “It was not an easy match to play and I must say that they gave a good account of themselves. We made a few changes to our starting lineup with an objective of giving those who had not played an opportunity to start, while maintaining the hunger and desire of wanting to win the match as well.”
Senong added that they were also using the 3rd/4th place play-off match against Nigeria as part of preparations for the upcoming FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will run from 23 May to 15 June in Poland later in the year.
Amajita qualified for their second world football showpiece in a row after reaching the semi-finals of AFCON in Niger.
“We took this Nigeria match as our FIFA Under-20 World Cup preparation clash leading up to this year’s world footballing event, we had a good look at the team and we have now identified some areas we need to improve on going forward,” Senong said.
“What is lacking in our team now is that we do not have a lot of international experience and what will help, building up to the tournament, is playing a lot of competitive friendly matches.”
South Africa claimed gold at the 2018 COSAFA Under-20 Championships staged in Zambia late last year.