Head coach of the South African Men’s Under-20 National Team (Amajita) Shakes Mashaba has called on the South Africans to rally behind the squad for the third round second leg qualifier of the 2015 African Youth Championship (AYC) against Cameroon scheduled for Sunday, 31 August in Polokwane. Amajita played to a credible 1-1 draw in the first leg on Saturday at the Stade Omnisports Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde, Cameroon. Eteme Adamou opened the scoring in the 46th minute for Cameroon while Siyanda Ngubo equalised for the South Africans in the 62nd minute.
“It was a tough game as expected. They were strong in the first 10 minutes of the game, but we should have scored after that as we had two clear chances. The red card nearly disorganized the team because players were trying to stop Cameroon from getting another goal. Their goal was also a soft one which means there are still some things we need to work on to ensure we do well in the second leg. But our boys did very well to come back with a draw. I take today’s (Saturday) match as the first half, so we have to return for the second half in Polokwane to finish what we started,” said Mashaba. The Amajita mentor believes the result is only an advantage if used properly. “The score line is now 50-50, which means we have to score first and deny them a chance to get a goal. If they score and we come back then it’s back to square one. The result favours us if we get more goals, but I must admit it takes the pressure off us a bit. We have one foot in and we now need to work harder to get the other foot in. But there is also the pressure of playing at home where everybody expects us to win and the boys might be unsettled, so we know that it will not be easy,” added Mashaba.
“It is also important to note that it has been some time since our national teams put smiles on the faces of the people, and I believe this is the right time to do that. We say to them come in numbers to cheer these boys to give them some boost and make our lives easier so that we can qualify for the AYC,” said the coach. SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan also called the team to congratulate them on the fine performance and wished them luck in the second leg. Amajita will take a week’s break before returning to camp on Sunday, 24 August to prepare for the return leg.
They are expected to travel to Polokwane next Monday, 25 August. Amajita will be without the services of first choice goalkeeper Dumisani Msibi, who was red carded on Saturday.