JOHANNESBURG - The real work by Amajita might be completed but there is still a lot to play for in the Africa Youth Championships (AYC) that concludes on Sunday in Niger.
The South Africans achieved their primary target of qualifying for this year’s Fifa Under-20 World Cup after finishing runners-up in Group A.
However, not all was rosy in the knockout stages as they succumbed 1-0 to Senegal in their semi-final on Wednesday night.
Not all is lost though, as there’s still the third place play-off up for grabs against Nigeria tomorrow.
Playing against the seven-time champions requires self-motivation for coach Thabo Senong’s troops, especially after the two teams played to a goalless draw in the second round of matches in the group stage.
However, Amajita go into this assignment with a lot of errors to fix, including their inability to create chances and score from open play.
In their four matches so far, they’ve only scored two goals, which came via a set-piece against hosts Niger and a penalty against Burundi.
Sure, Senong’s charges were bound to struggle following the refusal of the majority of overseas clubs to release players for this continental showpiece, but he too understands that now might be the time to give some of his so called fringe players a run.
Surprisingly, that group also includes the only overseas-based duo of Khanya Leshabela (England) and Kobamelo Kodisang (Portugal).
Leshabela and Kodisang have been sparingly used by Senong in this campaign, despite showing glimpses of their attacking prowess when they started in the last group match against the Young Swallows of Burundi.
Moreover, the time has come for Amajita’s technical team to start plotting for this year’s global showpiece that will be staged in Poland from May 25 to June 15.
There’s enough depth for the South Africans to grind for the much-anticipated bronze medal, which eluded them in the last edition when they went down 2-1 to Guinea.
Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, Siphesihle Mkhize and Luke le Roux will be Senong’s go-to guys for this match (5.30pm).@Mihlalibaleka