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Remembering reggae legend Lucky Dube (Photos)

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Sundowns' influence in the Under-20 World Cup

By Mark Gleeson in Cape Town | 2017-06-12 17:21:57.0

Mamelodi Sundowns will have looked at the U-20 World Cup in South Korea with some pride – even if Amajita had long been knocked out and gone home.

The Venezuela team that lost to England by a single goal in Sunday’s final were coached by the club’s former goalkeeper Raphael Dudamel.

It was the first achievement by Venezuela at any international tournament.

They are the only South American country whose senior side has never been to the World Cup but to do so well at under-20 level suggests a golden generation – with a top coach – in the making.

“I have happiness because they have been brave‚” a teary Dudumel said of his team to television reporters after the final‚ which England won with a solitary goal.

“They have played with dignity and with pride.”

The 44-year-old Dudamel‚ who played 54 times for Venezuela‚ is also the coach of the men’s senior national team in his home country taking over last year when they were rock bottom of the World Cup qualifying group.

He has taken charge of 15 games since but won just three as Venezuela battle amid politician and financial troubles in the country.

Dudamel had a relatively unspectacular time in the Premier Soccer League‚ arriving soon after compatriot Jose Torrealba‚ but played just seven games in the 2005/06 season‚ as he had to compete with Andre Arendse and Brian Baloyi for a place in the Sundowns team.

He also suffered a broken leg.

At Sundowns he was brought to the club by Oscar Fullone‚ worked under Miguel Angel Cappa and then later Miguel Gamondi and Neil Tovey.

“I remember him as very hard working. He was a vibrant guy but it was difficult to have any real conversations because of the language barrier.

“But I did see him in South Korea now. We bumped into them when they took over our hotel‚” said Tovey on Monday. - TMG Digital/TMG Sport