They came, they saw and they conquered – that is Amajita’s story in the Commonwealth Cup tournament which ended on Sunday, in St Petersburg, Russia. The South African Men’s Under-20 National Team made history when they vanquished big nations like Russia, Belarus and Finland en route to winning the Commonwealth Cup. And to cap an incredible two-week tournament, Amajita captain Motjeka Madisha was named Man of the Tournament while striker Pule Maraisane was named striker of the tournament.
The Under-20s will now focus on the CAF African Youth tournament which is scheduled to start in Senegal in March this year. “It has been an exhausting two-week competition because in most cases it meant playing back to back matches and this takes toll on players as they pick injuries and fatigue also sets in,” said a relived stand in coach David Notoane who was assisted by goalkeeper coach Wendell Robinson. Notoane said unfortunately, there was no time to reflect on this sweet victory because the team has to get back to work and start preparing for Senegal with the main goal not only qualifying for the World Cup but win the trophy, “These boys have tasted how sweet winning things is like and they should carry this spirit to Senegal.” While he praised the entire team for a job well done, Notoane admitted they would need to consolidate the squad with all their strong guns going to West Africa and this will include the likes of Ayabulela Magqwaka, Rivaldo Coetzee, Fagre Lakay, Holland-based Nhlakanipho Ntuli and Tyrone Sadous from Brazil side Gremio.
Meanwhile, player of the tournament and captain Madisha said they can’t wait for the CAF African Youth tournament to kick off. “Sometimes when you are on a roll, you don’t want to disturb the rhythm by taking a break; though it is good to recharge the batteries. This has been a long tour and we need a bit of some break. Bring them on; I mean bring the African teams on. We are ready for anything that is thrown at us. This Commonwealth Cup has hardened us and we will go to the Africa Youth tournament well prepared and not undercooked,” he said. Inspirational midfielder Tlotlo Leepile said the current Amajita team were just gelling at the right time, “We are going to Senegal with little complains. We have undergone some rigorous competition and if we don’t do well there, we have no one to blame.”
Right-back Kabelo Seriba said winning tournaments is always a good sign of a team eager to write history, “We are very much on path to achieve just that. Not that we should underestimate anyone. Going to play tournaments on the continent is always a trick affair but in all fairness I think we should be good to compete with the big boys now.” Amajita arrive in South Africa at 14:00 on Tuesday afternoon.