Doutie believes Amajita can emulate class of 2009
Erstwhile Amajita winger Sameehg Doutie is reluctant to give up on SA's hopes of advancing to the knockout phase of the Under-20 World Cup in Poland.
Amajita opened their campaign on a rather low note, going 5-2 down to six-time champions Argentina on Saturday.
SA face South Korea in their second Group F encounter tonight (8.30pm SA time). They entertain Portugal in the last pool clash on Friday.
"We cannot give up! The first match is always going to be difficult, because of the nerves. I am positive we will qualify for the last 16. I believe the boys learnt a lot from the first game," Doutie told Sowetan yesterday.
Doutie, 29, started all four of the Amajita games in the 2009 edition of the U20 World Cup in Egypt. Their class, guided by Serame Letsoaka, remains the only SA national side, across all levels, to have progressed to the knockout stages of a World Cup.
"We had character, that was our main weapon. We were playing to make the nation proud. It was extra motivation to know that playing there could help us get contracts overseas," Doutie said.
The 2-1 defeat at the hands of Ghana after extra-time in the quarterfinals proved the end of the road for Amajita a decade ago. SA had booked their last 16 spot after finishing among the four best third-placed sides.
The ex-Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United midfielder has urged Thabo Senong's side to prioritise clean sheets as this can help them end the group phase as one of the four best third-placed nations.
"You remember in Egypt we qualified as one the four best number threes, I believe it can happen even with the current team after losing the first game. They must make sure they don't concede, that will help them earn a spot in the quarterfinals."
SA are bottom of Group F, level on zero points with South Korea, who lost 1-0 to Portugal in the opener. The Asians are ahead of Amajita by virtue of superior goal difference.
Doutie is club-less after leaving Swedish third tier side IFK Varnamo late last year. The well-travelled midfielder has made it clear that he's missing playing in the Absa Premiership.
"It'd be great to play on home soil again. I miss that. I am taking it easy at home and hopeful offers will come," said Doutie, who last plied his trade locally with Ajax Cape Town in 2017.
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