Thabo Senong says his side have already started preparing for the World Cup. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

LUSAKA, Zambia – South Africa coach Thabo Senong says his side have officially entered “World Cup mode” despite not having completed their campaign at the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations.

Senong’s side fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat to hosts Zambia in the semi-finals of the tournament on Wednesday, but qualified for the 2017 U20 World Cup by virtue of reaching the top four

Amajita will face Guinea in Sunday’s third/fourth place play-off, and, instead of treating the match as a conciliation prize, Senong says he will use it to prepare for the next tournament.

“We are in World Cup mode now, and everything we are doing going forward is in line with those preparations,” he said.

“The technical team is now focusing on some of the weaknesses we picked up throughout the AFCON.

“Guinea will be good opponents for us, first for our players to fight for the bronze because it would be very nice to conclude the tournament with a medal.

"Secondly, they will test us in many departments. We look forward to keeping a compact defence like we did against Zambia. We want to concede less free kicks and ensure that the players stay focused and disciplined in critical phases of the game.”

The match will take place at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka and will be followed by the final between Zambia and Senegal.

Amajita’s game will be broadcast on SuperSport 9 at 2pm.