The South African Men’s Under 20 National Team (Amajita) have safely arrived in Yaounde, Cameroon after a nine-hour trip that took them via Nairobi, Kenya. The South Africans, however, arrived in Yaounde without most of their luggage including the playing kit and toiletry. Word from Kenya Airways was that the bags were not loaded in Nairobi where the team was in transit, and would only be delivered to the squad on Friday (15 August) evening on the next available flight to Yaounde.
“It is a very bad situation because most of our luggage did not make it to Yaounde. Our clothes, training equipment like cones and medication are all held up in Nairobi. Fortunately the training kit we have is the one they used in Johannesburg so each kept his own. I am just happy that we went on the tour of West Africa so this should not disturb the boys mentally as our objective for that tour was to prepare the boys for such eventualities. At the moment we are at the mercy of Kenya Airways as to when our luggage will arrive. We are hopeful that we will have the kit ready for our match,” said SA U20 team manager Ace Kika
“These things happen. As the manager was saying when we got the news about our bags I looked at my boys and found that they were not too worried, mainly due to the tour we undertook recently. We had some misfortunes on that tour like when we sat at the airport for hours on end, travelled long distances and this one in Yaounde is of a different kind but we will overcome,” added Amajita head coach Shakes Mashaba. The Amajita coach urged the players to focus on the job at hand and not worry about things they cannot control, “If only people would see me at the training session later today (Thursday, 14 August), I will be wearing my formal clothes that I travelled in from South Africa as there is nothing to change into. We cannot sit and fold our hands or put them on top of our heads and cry, life has to continue, the show must go on and that is the mental strength I see from these boys. Fortunately they have their boots in their personal bags so we must continue with preparations because the match is just under 72 hours away.” To compensate for the delay, Kenya Airways contributed some finance to assist the team to buy toiletries while waiting for their luggage.
Amajita will face the host nation in a 2015 African Youth Championship qualifier. The third round first leg clash will be played on Saturday, 16 August 2014 at the Omnisports Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium. Kickoff is at 15:00 local time in Cameroon (16:00 SA time).
The return leg will take place on Sunday, 31 August In Polokwane. Amajita have another training session on Friday (15 August) to complete preparations for the match.