Thabo Senong, coach of South Africa following the loss to the Korean Republic: It was a very tough match, tough luck to our boys. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Winless in their first two matches of the of the 2019 Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Poland, coach Thabo Senong concedes that their ambitions for the global showpiece haven’t gone according to plan but they’ll keep their eyes on the bigger picture - development.

South Africa are bottom and pointless in Group F following back-to-back defeats against Argentina and South Korea.

In the opening encounter they were hammered by the South Americans 5-2. They conceded four goals in the second half, while they got their second through a penalty from Lyle Foster.

Three days later against a Korean team that was beaten by Portugal in their first match, South Africa squandered a number of chances in the first half and were punished midway through the second as they lost 1-0.

“Obviously now we have dropped points, we are bottom of the group, but we are developing these players. Every game we must approach it professionally with the aim of winning,” Senong said. “We approached the first two games with the aim of winning, but we were up against very strong opponents.”

On Tuesday against the Asians they played more confidently and created better chances through Leo Thethani, Oswin Appolis and Thabiso Monyane who had replaced Foster, Promise Mkhuma and Njabulo Blom from the first match.

“It was a very tough match, tough luck to our boys. We had a very good first half, the only thing that let us down was that we didn’t convert our chances,” Senong said.

“I told the boys at half-time to concentrate and remain solid. We need to keep discipline and concentrate, otherwise we are going to be punished.”



The Star

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