Ntseki names his squad for the 2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championships
Coach Molefi Ntseki has named his final squad for the 2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championships that also serves as the beginning of the qualification campaign for the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Peru next year.
Ntseki previously led the country to the World Cup in Chile in 2015‚ their first ever appearance at this level‚ and is looking to return with a new group of players that should represent the best young talent in the country.
Amajimbos finished second on the COSAFA tournament in 2016‚ surprisingly losing to Namibia on penalties in the final‚ and fourth in 2017‚ but will need to win the event in Mauritius from July 19-29 to take the next step in their bid to reach the global finals.
Only the top team will advance to the African Under-17 Championships in Tanzania next year‚ where Africa’s four representatives for Peru will emerge from.
“It’s not an unfamiliar environment and the aim is to go out there and enjoy our football‚ with the aim of qualifying for the African championships‚” Ntseki said.
“If you look at the format of the tournament‚ you have to have a high level of mental strength because the players have to focus and understand that you have to play every game to win.
“We should be able to handle the pressure professionally and we are in the process of turning these guys from boys to men.
"We can’t do it any other way than to bring them to training and take them through our phases of development and preparation.”
Ntseki actually started preparing for this tournament last year when he selected a very young side to play in 2017‚ and four players have returned this year in a bid to reach the World Cup.
That includes Junior Nare from Black Aces‚ who was joint top-scorer in the 2017 competition with five goals‚ as well as goalkeeper Constandino Christodoulou‚ and midfielders Storm Jonas and Mohammed Shahabodien.
South Africa start their campaign against Lesotho on July 20‚ before a clash with Mozambique two days later.
They finish their pool play against defending champions and regional heavyweights Zambia in July 24.
Only the top team in each pool and the best placed runner-up advance to the semifinals.
South Africa squad:
Goalkeepers: Bontle Molefe‚ Constandino Christodoulou
Defenders: Leonardo Rooi‚ Sphiwe Nkabinde‚ Athenkosi Mcaba‚ Inathi Lawana‚ Morapedi Ralenkoane‚ Bongolwetu Siyasi
Midfielders: Vusimusi Plamana‚ Katleho Tsotsetsi‚ Storm Jonas‚ Mohammed Shahabodien‚ Junior Nare‚ Thato Matli‚ Siyanda Nyanga‚ Azola Tshobeni‚ Thando Buthelezi‚ Dante Brown
Strikers: Boitumelo Radiopane‚ Mthokozisi Balakase