The South African National Under-17 (Amajimbos) sailed into the final of the 2015 CAF U/17 African Youth Championships with a vintage 1-0 win over nemesis Nigeria on a sweltering afternoon in the Niger capital of Niamey on Wednesday.
It was a performance of high quality from the South Africans who are now 90 minutes away from being crowned African junior champions. A goal from mercurial goal-poacher Khanyisa Mayo was all Amajimbos needed to overcome probably their biggest obstacle of being crowned African champions. Both teams had already sealed their place at the World Cup in Chile and started the match at a high tempo. It was the South Africans though who looked hungrier and the purpose to win the match.
Mbatha started the attack for Amajimbos as early as the 3rd minute of the game but his shot did little to trouble the Nigerians. As Amajimbos continued to search for the opening goal, they went into the attack on the 26th minute resulting in Mayo sweeping home the crucial goal.
Nigeria came back a rejuvenated side in the second half pushing for the elusive equaliser but a combination of good goalkeeping from Mpoto and tight defence put paid to any of their chances pulling things back. Amajimbos coach Molefi Ntseki was over the moon about the victory but added he was not overly surprised by the outcome.
“We watched Nigeria throughout the tournament, because there was a chance of us playing them. We identified a lot of mistakes in their game and this victory was down to our homework and our players playing to instructions. Nigeria are a good team, make no mistake about that but this is a culmination of our plans coming together;’ said coach Ntseki.
South African u17 starting line-up: Mondli Mpoto, Katlego Mohamme, Keanu Cupido, Reeve Frosler, Notha Ngcobo, Thendo Mukumela, Athenkosi Dlala, Sibongakonke Mbatha, Nelson Maluleke (c), Luvuyo Mkatshana, Khanyisa Mayo.