Crunch time for SA under-20 side and their coach as they face moment of truth
Amajita head coach Thabo Senong has left no stone unturned ahead of their do-or-die clash against Sudan in the final and crucial Group B encounter of the 2017 CAF u20 Africa Cup of Nations.
Kick-off is scheduled for 15h00 at Heroes National Stadium in Lusaka‚ Zambia on Sunday.
Following their 4-3 defeat against Senegal on Thursday‚ Senong has made three changes opting for a more attacking line-up in the shape of Luther Singh‚ Sibongakonke Mbatha and Phakamani Mahlambi to support lone striker Liam Jordan up front.
Goalkeeper Mondli Mpoto retains his place and gets his third straight start in the tournament.
Senong has reshuffled his defence – captain Tercious Malepe will partner with Sandile Mthethwa at centre back.
Katlego Mohamme has been moved to the left back‚ while Thendo Mukumela retains his position at right back.
Vice captain Teboho Mokoena will control proceedings in the heart of midfield alongside Grant Margeman.
A win for South Africa will see them through to the semi-finals of the tournament and also earn them a place in the FIFA under-20 Men’s World Cup‚ which will be held later this year in South Korea.
“In our last game we played very well in the first half and managed to score two quick goals – we intend to continue from there‚ but today we expect our boys to stay focused in both halves‚" said Senong.
"We have also warned them about conceding fouls in dangerous areas of the pitch‚ and to keep shape all the time.
“We have the opportunity to add our names in the history books this afternoon and we are just 90 minutes from realizing that dream.
"We all know we could have wrapped it up in the previous match but it was not to be‚ and it is all in the past now.
"We strongly believe in the talent we have at our disposal and we are confident they will deliver – this is perhaps the most important match of our careers and we intend to make it count.”
SA under-20 starting XI:
Mondli Mpoto (GK); Katlego Mohamme; Thendo Mukumela; Tercious Malepe (C); Sandile Mthethwa; Grant Margeman; Teboho Mokoena; Sibongakonke Mbatha; Luther Singh; Phakamani Mahlambi; Liam Jordan
Subs: Sanele Tshabalala; Khulekani Khubeka; Siyabonga Ngezana; Notha Ngcobo; Aghmat Ceres; Sipho Mbule; Wiseman Meyiwa; Kobamelo Kodisang; Itumeleng Shopane; Khanyisa Mayo - TMG Digital