SA under-20 coach bullish ahead of Korea World Cup showdown

SA Under-20 coach Thabo Senong addresses the media during a press conference.
SA Under-20 coach Thabo Senong addresses the media during a press conference.
Image: Safa.net

Thabo Senong remains confident that his charges will see off Korea Republic in a crunch Fifa Under 20 World Cup group match on Tuesday night.

The South Africans suffered a humbling 5-2 defeat to Argentina in their opening Group D match at Tychy Stadium in Poland on Saturday and the SA Under-20 coach said Tuesday's encounter against Korea Republic would give him an indication of how far his side can progress in the competition.

“We have to remain positive‚” said Senong.

“It’s all about teaching the boys how to come back from a bad result.

“Football has a lot to of surprises and I still believe in our team.”

In his second successive spell as Amajita coach at the World Cup‚ Senong will come under pressure to deliver this time after his team failed to make it to the second round two years ago in the Korea Republic.

Amajita finished bottom of Group D in Korea and Senong’s future might depend on how far his team progresses in Poland.

Against Argentina on Saturday‚ Amajita struggled to control the game and conceded goals at crucial times.

But Senong said they have to approach the Korea match with a positive mindset against a team still searching for a maiden point in this tournament.

Korea suffered a 1-0 defeat against Amajita’s Friday opponents‚ Portugal.

Senong reckons Amajita now have to get positive results against Korea and Portugal if they are to get to the second round where even four third best placed finishers in the first round qualify for the last 16.

“As you know that we are in a very tough group… Portugal‚ Korea and Argentina‚" he said.

"But we have to steal results against Korea and Portugal.”

Amajita midfield Leo Thethani‚ who plays for Ajax Amsterdam’s Under 21‚ echoed his coach and said they still have their destiny in their own hands.

“I believe we can still get the six points because of the way we’ve been working‚” said Thethani‚ who came on as a substitute against Argentina.

“I think we’re going to give the two opponents a tough game because we’re still confident of showing our nation of what we are capable of.”

Amajita’s match against Korea on Tuesday night will kick off at 8.30pm at the Tychy Stadium while the game against Portugal on Friday will also start at the same time but a different venue at Bielsko-Biala Stadium.

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