The South African Men’s Under-17 National Team (Amajimbos) defeated their Botswana counterparts 2-0 in a practice match played at the Sir Seretse Khama Barracks Stadium in Mogoditshane, Botswana on Thursday. This was the first of two matches scheduled for the trip to Botswana in preparation for the crucial 2015 African Youth Championships (AYC) qualifier against Tanzania later this month (Friday, 18 July). The second match, a full international, will be played on Sunday at the Molepolle Stadium.
South Africa started brightly in the first half and did not look like a team that was playing its first match in 2014. Midfielder and captain of the side Nelson Maluleka should have opened the scoring as early as the eighth minute but ballooned his shot with the keeper to beat. In the 13th minute striker Vuyo Mkatshana went one-on-one with the Botswana keeper but his first touch let him down.
A minute later he made amends and scored from a cross to give the visitors a 1-0 lead and it stayed that way until the break. The hosts came back strongly in the second half and dominated proceedings from the start. Seven minutes into the second stanza, South African goalkeeper Mxolisi Skei misjudged the ball, which fell into the path of Tshepo Malgase, but he shot over the poles when scoring appeared easier.
In the 63rd minute Amajimbos coach Molefi Ntseki made multiple substitutions bringing on Keanu Cupido, Edwin Sekwama, Charles Baloyi, Benedict Matlawe and Thato Pheleu for Katlego Mohamme, Mkatshana, Vuyo Mantjie, Felix Noge and Kananelo Motsoeneng respectively. The visitors could have increased their lead shortly thereafter when second half substitute Benedict Matlawe found himself in good space in the opposition penalty area but he pushed the ball too hard which was easily dealt with by the keeper. Botswana almost found an equaliser in the 65th minute with the South African defence in trouble, but Malgase again ballooned his shot.
In the 77th minute the hosts bridged the Amajimbos defence but substitute Kgothatso Thobane could not get past Skei who blocked the ball with his legs for a corner.
Despite playing under pressure in the second half, the visitors were the ones who got a goal five minutes from the final whistle with a well-taken free-kick by defender Kananelo Motsoeneng after a foul on substitute Charles Baloyi. South Africa held on for a 2-0 victory.