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Soccer

Amajita show future is bright for SA football by qualifying for World Cup

10 February 2019 - 00:00 By NICK SAID

Coach Thabo Senong says SA’s back-to-back qualifications for the Fifa Under-20 World Cup shows plenty of promise for the future of Bafana Bafana and that, in this age group at least‚ the country is among the top teams on the continent.
Amajita reached the semifinals of the Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations on Friday with a 1-0 victory over Burundi that saw them finish second in a tricky Group A that also included hosts Niger and perennial powerhouse Nigeria.
They will now face Senegal in the next stage on Wednesday‚ but before then can celebrate reaching the World Cup in Poland in May. It is the fourth time the country has qualified for the global showpiece and a second in succession after they played in South Korea in 2017.
“This is a second World Cup in a row and third Afcon in a row‚ which shows that we want to be among the best young teams on the continent‚” Senong said.
What made the feat more impressive is that Amajita had a relatively young squad at this tournament‚ with two 18-year-olds‚ scorer Luke le Roux and James Monyane‚ starting against Burundi.
Added to that‚ Senong is also missing a number of his first-choice players who were not released by their clubs for the tournament‚ including Monaco B star Lyle Foster.
“We can celebrate but then it is back to analysis and preparation for Senegal‚” Senong said. “We know it is a tough assignment for us‚ but we have a good game plan and we know what we are trying to do.
“Senegal are one of the best under-20 teams on the continent. They are fast and attacking players on transitions‚ so we will have to be very organised.”
Amajita’s best finish in their continental finals is runner-up after they lost the 1997 final 1-0 to hosts Morocco...

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