The South African Men’s Under-17 National Team (Amajimbos) has completed the first phase of preparations ahead of their all-important clash with Tanzania in a 2015 African Youth Championships qualifier scheduled for the 7000-seater Azam Stadium in the capital Dar es Salaam. The match will be played on Friday. Kickoff is at 16:00 local time in Tanzania (15:00 SA time).
In preparation for that encounter, South Africa played four matches in two weeks – winning all of them when they defeated Botswana 2-0 and 4-0 and also went on to beat Lesotho 2-0 and 1-0 in Botswana and Lesotho respectively. Amajimbos scored nine goals with no reply from their opponents. “The tour was a very big success for us if you look at our preparations and the results that followed. I believe all the traveling has really helped us to prepare thoroughly for Tanzania. We reached the climax of our preparations with the last match against Lesotho where we used different players, giving a rest to others. We did this exercise to see how the players will react in different situations. Despite all those changes, the team did very well showing some balance in the team. I am confident that going to Tanzania we will keep the same spirit that prevailed over the last two weeks, as well as the mental strength,” said SA Under-17 coach Molefi Ntseki.
The Amajimbos mentor will be travelling to Tanzania with only 18 players and has left out six from the current squad – Mxolisi Skei (GK), Charles Baloyi, Benedict Matlawe, Thato Pheleu, Kananelo Motsoeneng and Thato Ramogogodi. “It was a very difficult decision that we had to make because we have been with these boys together for the past two weeks and we had become one big happy family. They were starting to show understanding of what is expected of them and also the demands of the game at international level. We had to leave some players behind, and not because they are not good enough but because of the numbers needed. I told them that they should keep their heads high because coming back from Tanzania they will be needed again as we have a long journey ahead,” added Ntseki. The only new addition to the 18-man squad is Liam Jordan of Bidvest Wits who was unable to join the squad in Botswana and Lesotho.
He took part in the initial stages of the selection phase after he was identified at the SAFA U17 Championship tournament held at the Nike Centre in Soweto earlier this year. Amajimbos depart for Tanzania on Tuesday afternoon.