The South African Men’s Under 17 National Team (Amajimbos) held their first training session in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday in preparation for the all-important 2015 African Youth Championship qualifier against their Tanzanian counterparts. The second round first leg clash will be played on Friday, 18 July at the Azam Stadium with a 16:00 local time (15:00 SA time) kick-off. The second leg will take place in a fortnight in South Africa at a venue yet to be announced.
Head coach Molefi Ntseki has spent just three weeks with the boys ahead of the qualifier in Tanzania. “We had our first training session on Tanzanian soil on Wednesday and I believe the boys are ready to wear the national colours with pride. Hopefully we will come out victorious against Tanzania, continuing from where we left off against Lesotho and Botswana. We have been preparing them mentally for this trip, now we are here there is no turning back,” said Ntseki. Amajimbos played four matches in Botswana and Lesotho as part of preparations for the match with Tanzania.
They defeated Botswana 2-0 and 4-0, and completed the tour with 2-0 and 1-0 victories over a stubborn Lesotho. Ntseki has been working on rooting out complacency from the boys’ minds. “Personally, this is my first real test as the junior national team coach and I need to have to the self-confidence first so I can pass it on to the boys. I have seen them in action and they give me the confidence that they can do the business. All we want to do is to start well in this campaign and the rest will follow,” added the Amajimbos mentor, who holds a Degree in Psychology.
“After winning the four matches the danger that they could do is to think they have arrived. But they haven’t done anything yet even though they gave a good account of themselves in those matches. This is international football and those results are all in the past. We have also had to psyche them to move from the friendlies mentality and instill upon them that this is real one, this is the big one. The country needs results and we have to deliver, without putting them under pressure. The fact is that the most important match is this one on Friday where results matter so we have to stick to our plan to get positive results,” said Ntseki. Amajimbos will have their last training session at the match venue this afternoon. Meanwhile, news from the Tanzania camp is that two players have had to be released from their squad after they were found to be overage.
Despite the setback, their coach is confident that they will do well against the South Africans.