26 February 2015
The Amajimbos, the South African national under-17 team, sailed into the final of the 2015 CAF u17 African Youth Championships with a 1-0 win over Nigeria in Niamey, Niger, on Wednesday afternoon.
It was a solid performance from the South Africans, and a goal from mercurial goal- poacher Khanyisa Mayo was all the Amajimbos needed to overcome probably their biggest obstacle on their way to being crowned the African champions.
Both teams had already sealed their place at the World Cup in Chile and started the match at a high tempo. It was the South Africans who looked hungrier to win the match.
Mbatha started the attack for Amajimbos as early as the third minute of the game but his shot did little to trouble the Nigerians.
When the Amajimbos went on the attack in the 26th minute, Mayo swept home the single crucial goal.
Nigeria came back a rejuvenated side in the second half, pushing for the elusive equaliser. However, a combination of good goalkeeping from Mpoto and tight defence put paid to any of their chances pulling things back.
Amajimbos coach Molefi Ntseki was over the moon about the victory – but said he was not surprised by the outcome.
“We watched Nigeria throughout the tournament, because there was a chance of us playing them. We identified a lot of mistakes in their game and this victory was down to our homework and our players playing to instructions. Nigeria are a good team, make no mistake about that, but this is a culmination of our plans coming together,” said Ntseki.
The South Africans will face the victor of Thursday’s semi-final, when Mali and Guinea face off. The final is scheduled for Sunday.
By reaching the semi-finals, all four countries qualified for the Fifa U-17 World Cup, taking place in Chile from 17 October 17 to 8 November.
South African u17 starting line-up: Mondli Mpoto, Katlego Mohamme, Keanu Cupido, Reeve Frosler, Notha Ngcobo, Thendo Mukumela, Athenkosi Dlala, Sibongakonke Mbatha, Nelson Maluleke (c), Luvuyo Mkatshana, Khanyisa Mayo.