Amajita pip Ivory Coast
Amajita, the national under-20 squad, got their campaign in the African Youth Championship in Rwanda off to a promising start when they pipped a stubborn Ivory Coast 1-0 yesterday.
This closely fought match was played at Kigali Stadium.
The all-important goal was scored by Mduduzi Nyanda three minutes from the break after he meticulously finished off a rebound from Mandla Masango.
South Africa managed to find the net in this stanza in spite of the dominance of Ivory Coast who looked a better bet to score.
Serame "Rhee" Letsoaka, Amajita coach, brought on defender Michael Morton for midfielder Philani Khwela to solidify his rearguard, which was under pressure from their opponents.
Thulani Ngcepe should have increased the score line, but failed to convert Masango's square pass in the 68th minute.
Ivory Coast failed to level the score despite camping in Amajita's half in the last 20 minutes of the match.
Inspirational Amajita substitute Kamohelo Mokotjo came close to scoring in the 78th minute, but his shot hit the side netting, much to Letsoaka's disappointment.
Amajita's assistant coach, Maqsood "Mac" Chenia, said he was satisfied with the boys' performance on the day.
"They showed character and fighting spirit against Ivory Coast who were also strong," an excited Chenia told Sowetan after the match.
But he admitted that they would have to do more in their next two matches of the group stages.
"We are playing Nigeria in our next match [on Thursday] and they will be difficult to beat. We have to rely on quick breaks to ensure that we punish them," he said.
The South African juniors need two points to qualify for the semifinals and an automatic spot in the Fifa World Youth Championship in Egypt in September.
Amajita meet Egypt in the last match of the group stages on Sunday.
In other match yesterday Nigeria beat Egypt 2-0.
The tournament ends on February 1.