South Africa, Zambia get tough groups at Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations

COSAFA representatives South Africa and Zambia have had their fate revealed at the 2021 Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations in Morocco from March 13-31 after both were drawn into difficult pools.

South Africa have been placed in the Group of Death along with defending champions Cameroon, and west African nations Senegal and Mali. All three will represent a might challenge for the Amajimbos.

“I believe that this is the toughest group that will test our ability against countries with such great football history,” coach Vela Khumalo said.

“Cameroon are the current title holders and we are fortunate to have their recordings of their build up to the AFCON. Senegal and Mali are very physical teams, which will force us to really work hard on our possession of the ball.

“However, we will continue studying the style of play now that the draw has been held. I am looking forward to the challenge and will ensure that we raise the country’s flag high.”

Zambia also have a difficult task having been drawn alongside Morocco, Uganda and Ivory Coast.

“It’s a balanced group having teams from almost all major regions in Africa. We just have to do our best in the preparations and during the tournament,” coach George Chilufya said.

“Football is a competition and if you have to become champions, you have to compete against other teams in the tournament so whichever team comes your way, you should be ready for battle.

“Morocco will be one of the teams at the tournament so we are not looking at names apart from participants so we just have to believe in our abilities and make sure that the boys are psyched so that they believe that they are capable of upsetting hosts.”

The two nations qualified for the continental finals after reaching the decider of the COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay in November. South Africa won the title on penalties.