Thabo Senong puts on brave face after Amajita bow out
Amajita coach Thabo Senong put on a brave face after his side’s failure to get out of the group at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Poland‚ insisting that he and his players learned valuable lessons from the chastening experience.
South Africa finished bottom of Group F with only one point from three matches after they lost two and drew one‚ and conceded seven goals while scoring a disappointing three.
“I think our players have learned from this experience because the future belongs to them‚ it was a platform for them to develop and I hope that they can take this experience and go further with their careers‚” Senong said after his side were dumped out of the tournament following their 1-1 draw with Portugal on Friday.
“Our group was a very tough one‚ to be honest‚ and I must say that as a coach I have personally learned a lot with every game and even from the games that we watched.
“Congratulations to Argentina and Korea who topped our group and are through to the next round and tough luck to our boys because we did not pick up the needed points.”
Against European champions Portugal‚ goalkeeper Khulekani Kubheka gave a solid performance that helped Amajita from conceding more goals and Senong said he is one of the leaders in the team.
“Our goalkeeper did very well against Portugal‚ he has been the pillar of our team‚ he has been consistent and played a massive role to get us to this World Cup. He got injured in the second half of our opening game against Argentina and you could see that without his presence and leadership‚ the team lost confidence.
“We could have rewarded him by scoring a few goals against Portugal. I think he gave a man-of-the-match performance and credit must go to the coaching staff as well. The future looks bright for him and the other players.”
Amajita are the only African team to have failed to progress to the round of 16 and Senong wished Nigeria‚ Senegal and Mali well for the remainder of the competition.
“I would like to congratulate our three African representatives Mali‚ Senegal and Nigeria because they have done well to get to the next round and we wish all the best of success‚” Senong said.
“Senegal have looked very consistent in their group and even during the Caf qualifiers they are one of the most solid teams.
“They have strong one-versus-one players‚ they are a structured team and probably they look like they could go all the way.
“Nigeria and Mali are slowly getting the momentum and I will be happy is they go through. But‚ I must say this tournament has been of high quality if you look at teams like Argentina‚ USA‚ France and Italy.”