Amajita impress in the U20 African Cup of Nations 2019 and Qualify for World Cup 2019

Amajita under 20 Impress in the U20 African Cup of Nations

Amajita has qualified for under-20 World Cup Fifa in Poland. The South Africa under-20 national team made South Africans proud for qualifying for the World Cup.

The talented squad qualified for World Cup after a hard fought 1-0 win against Burundi. The squard that includes future talents such as Nkosingiphile Ngcobo (Kaizer Chiefs)Khanya Leshabela (Leicester City FC, England), Luke Le Roux (SuperSport United). The team is strong with 6  players applying their trade abroad. These players include:

  • Bradley Cross (Schalke FC, Germany)
  • Kobamelo Kodisang (AD Sanjoanense FC, Portugal)
  • Tashreeq Matthews (FC Utrecht, Holland)
  • Khanya Leshabela (Leicester City FC, England)
  • Sphephelo Sithole (Belenenses FC, Portugal)
  • Lyle Foster (AS Monaco, France)
The amajita after being crowned the 2018 MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championship went into the African Nations Cup 2019 with high hopes of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2019 and winning the cup for the first time in the history of South African under-20 teams.

In order to qualify the amajita were placed in a difficult group with African heavy weights Nigeria, tough Burundi and hosts Niger.

South Africa 1 - 1 Niger

In the first game amajita were slow of the mark but quicly settled down and created more chances in the first half than Niger. Niger were strong in the second half against a nervous Amajita team in a packet stadium with Niger fans as loud as they can be. Amajita conceded cheaply after brilliant play by Niger winger to get past the Amajita left back and played a dangerous cross in the box which was not well dealt with by the Amajita defence. This led to host nation (Niger) scoring early in the second half of the under-20 African Cup of nations.  The talented young South Afrcians were dangerous on set peice play, talented Ncobo delivered dangerous crosses in the first half from a corner that should have put Amajita in the lead and another in the second half which was perfectly finished by Siphesihle Mkhize (Mamelodi Sundowns). The crowd were silenced by a beautiful header by Mkhize which showed great technique. The score ended level and Amajita earned a well deserved point, while Niger felt their droped 2 crucial points.

South Africa 0 - Nigeria 0

In the second game Amajita were nevous and feared their rivals from West Africa. Nigeria made all the play and Amajita were just kicking the ball out of their half instead of trying to string a good number of pass to kill the spirit of the Nigerians. If it was not for the brilliant goal keeper, Khulekani Kubheka (Cape Umoya FC) the score could have been embarrassing for Amajita. Nigeria were all over the South Africans and were unlucky to draw the game. The Nigerians were honestly a level above Amajita, beating them with pace, fitness and physical presence. The skills of the South Africa did not come to play as the Nigerians did not let them settle. Thabo Senong was definitely happy with the point, although Amajita played uncharacteristically.

South Africa 1 - Burundi 0

Amajita played well in this game, and showed the skills that the South African game is known for. The South Africans scored early in the first half through a penalty. However, Amajita did not dominate with Burundi having a number of chances to equalize but the keeper and the defense stood solid. Brilliant defense by Amajita earned the under-20 COSAF champions a well deserved victory. With Nigeria defeating Niger, this meant that Amajita qualified for the World Cup for the second time in their history!

South Africa 0 - Senegal 1

The talented young footballers from South Africa were unfortunate to lose out in the semi final in a drama filled game; First the extra time from the other semi final game by Nigeria versus Mali delayed the start of the game; Secondly the flood lights went off; Finally, the bumpy football pitch was terrible to play carpet football the Amajita are known for. This may have affected their mindset going in this tough encounter.

The game was very tough with Amajita having to defend the entire game. Senegal was strong and Amajita gave them too much respect, after cruising in group B and scoring 9 goals and conceding only 1. Amajita defended far too deep and looked like Thabo Senong tactics was to get to penalties, having had only one shot on target in the dying minutes of the game. Unfortunately, Amajita concede from an unlucky deflections which meant that Senegal proceed to the final to face Mali and that Amajita will face a tricky rival in Nigeria for the third place spot. The latter game will surely not be a curtain raiser given the rivalry that exists between the South Africans and the Nigerians. If Amajita wins against Nigeria the victory might be perceived as being equal to winning the tournament by South African football pundits, it will have South Africans talking all week about the win!

South Africa 0(5) - Nigeria 0(3)

The third place play-off against Nigeria was another tactical battle by Amajita. The coach again set up his team to cancel out the attack of Nigeria. The game was scrapy with the Nigerians having better ball position and chances. Again the Amanjita failed to create clear scoring chances and maintain ball position for large parts of the game. In fact, South African young stars has 32% ball position and failed to register a goal on target. Thabo Senong surely was not happy with these statistics, regardless of the boys winning the tough encounter on penalties 5-3.

Are Amajita ready to compete in the World Cup?

This question which was not answered by Amajita, "Are amajita ready to compete in the World Cup". 

Amajita are well organised and tactically very aware. Their defense is solid and their coach is well educated student of the game with plenty of experience. Ngocbo set peices are dangerous and can provide the Amajita a goal in tough matches.

However, All is not well in the camp! Having scored only two goals from set pecies in five games the tactically team must be worried. A few months ahead of the World Cup this must be very stressfull for the Amajita coach. The coach was clearly concerned with the Amajita attacking prowess, the coach tried different combinations in all five games , yielding no results.

Shockingly, in all five games Amajita failed to control the game and gave away plenty of scoring chances to the opposition. If  the chances were taken by their oppositions Amajita would not have qualified for the World Cup. The ball possession stats in all five games are concerning having not managed to over power all their opposition in ball possession.

Amajita recorded only 1 shot on target against Senegal; 0 shot on target against Nigeria. Creativity in the middle is also a major concern but attacking wise the team is not jelling, always failing to make the final pass when in good areas. Sounds like a common South African problem!

Thabo Senong, his team and the players need to work hard to correct these issues to have a good World Cup tournament.



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