Commonwealth Cup hosts Russia and South Africa clash in a titanic quarter-final encounter this evening (21 January) which both countries coaches termed a final before the final. South Africa who hosted the 2010 World Cup will take on the next hosts of the biggest sporting event on the universe in this Commonwealth Cup Under-20 tournament. Russia welcomes the football family in 2018 and the match between the two (Amajita and their Russian counterparts) has also been billed as the match between 2010 and 2018 World Cup hosts.
Amajita finished second in Group C which comprised leaders Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Lithuania; drawing two games and winning the other 3-1 against eventual leaders Tajikistan. The match will take place at 19:00 (18:00 SA time) having been changed from an afternoon slot to the last evening match. “It would have been a perfect encounter had the two met in the final but this is still the game of the tournament regardless of the outcome,” said Russia Under-20 head coach Nokolay Pisarev.
The 47-year-old said Amajita had impressed the neutrals here and together with hosts Russia, were the tournament most favoured teams. “That is why this quarter-final match had to be changed from the original afternoon slot to 19:00 hours to accommodate an expected big crowd. We should have a full house tonight. We are not very much worried about the ultimate outcome of this encounter. We just want to entertain football fans who have supported this tournament through and through. South Africa are fast and comfortable on the ball but we will use our athleticism to nsettle them. This should be the real deal,” he laughed. His South African counterpart, David Notoane said his side were determined to go all the way in this tournament and there won’t by sentimental feelings when they meet Russia, “They have been good hosts; all countries have been warmly welcomed, treated like kings – in fact the general hospitality has been marvelous. The Russians are going to have a fantastic World Cup. They are doing the right things and the people are very warm and friendly. But we must forget about all that this evening. We are here to represent South Africa and we must aim to win this cup but first of all we must push Russia aside to achieve this goal.”
The tough talking coach said apart from few niggling injuries, as expected in this long tournament, the team had a clean bill of health and were raring to go this evening. “We are ready and we assure South Africa that we will give it our all,” he concluded.