Amajita stand their ground to earn draw against Nigeria in 2019 African Under-20 Championships
South Africa put in a stout defensive display as they held Nigeria to a 0-0 draw in their second Group A clash at the 2019 African Under-20 Championships in Niamey‚ Niger on Tuesday.
Amajita had to weather a storm from the Nigerians‚ but the defensive discipline and organisation that coach Thabo Senong works so hard to implement held firm.
It means South Africa must beat Burundi on Friday to be assured of as place in the semi-finals‚ while a draw could be enough if other results go their way.
Up for grabs is a place at the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland‚ with the four semi-finalists qualifying automatically for the global showpiece.
Amajita welcomed back goalkeeper and captain Khulekani Khubeka‚ who missed Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Niger‚ one of three changes that also saw starts for Siphesihle Mkhize and Luvuyo Phewa.
Khubeka‚ who is spending the season on loan at National First Division side Cape Umoya United‚ proved his with a number of fine stops.
Senong’s side created little in the opening stages‚ with Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and Keenan Phillips seeing half-chances snuffed out by the alert Nigerian defence.
At the other end Nazifi Yahaya shot into the side-netting in what was the best chance of the half for the Flying Eagles as the teams went into the break all square.
Nigeria dominated the possession in the second half but heroic South Africa defending and good organisation of his backline by Khubeka kept them at bay.
Amajita were looking to hit the west Africans on the counter-attack‚ but too often they could not find the right pass on a hard‚ bumpy surface that made moving the ball accurately on the pitch a challenge.
When South Africa did get the ball in advanced positions on the pitch‚ they lacked numbers in attack to pick apart their opponents.
The Flying Eagles continued to pepper the Amajita goal with shots from distance in the closing stages‚ but their aim was wayward‚ bar one smart low save for Khubeka from Muhammad Jamil in the closing minutes.