Amajita Ready For War

South Africa Men’s National Under-20 team captain Madisha Modjeka said the moment they have been waiting has finally arrived and are fully prepared to shoulder prospects of carrying the hopes of the entire country.  Amajita kick off their CAF African Youth championships campaign against Ghana on Monday in Saly, a tourist resort hub, play Mali on Thursday before rounding off their group stage assignments against Zambia on Sunday, 15 March in Dakar.  The towering Mamelodi Sundowns defender said:  ‘By the time we travel to Dakar for our last match against Zambia, we should know where we stand and I honestly hope that we would have sealed our spot to the World Cup in New Zealand.’

Modjeka was named defender of the tournament at the Commonwealth tournament in Russia last January and was the rock on which all opposition attacks perished and was sounding bullish ahead of Monday’s clash with Ghana.  The mild-mannered captain said:  ‘There is always this rivalry developing between Ghana and South Africa.  We know what happened at the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and it would be nice to get even on Monday.  It won’t be easy considering the Ghanaians reputation in junior tournaments but I presume if we want to be the best on the continent and even the world, we should stand up against the so-called giants.’  Madisha echoed the sentiments of coach Thabo Senong on the need for Amajita to stay focused and united for a common cause:  ‘When you go to war, the last thing you want to happen to the soldiers is getting distracted.  We are so focused we can’t wait for the kick off and get this anxiety off us.’

Vice-captain Ayabulela Konqobe said the boys were so eager to start the tournament no other thing was on their mind but the Ghana clash:  ‘This is what we are here for.  We are not here for some holiday.  We know the entire nation will be watching or following our progress here on Monday and it would be nice to put a smile on people’s faces.  It is just a feel-good thing to do.’  Midfielder-cum-striker Pule Maraisane who was voted the best player at the Commonwealth tournament in Russia said while soccer is a team sport, he would love to leave a lasting impression at this tournament:  ‘It would be nice to cap a good individual performance by helping the team qualify for the World Cup and even win the tournament itself.  It is always nice to aim high when you want to do well.  We have the measure of all teams in this tournament and I don’t see why we should not go all the way.’