The South African Football Association (SAFA) has appointed Maqsood “Macky” Chenia as the head coach of the National Under 20 team (Amajita). Coach Chenia will spearhead the team’s campaign in the upcoming African Youth Championship that will be played in Johannesburg from the 17th of April to 1st May 2011.
Chenia takes over from coach Khabo Zondo who has since been assigned to the SAFA Transnet School of Excellence.
National Under 17 coach Solly Luvhengo will assist Chenia, while Technical Director Serame Letsoaka will serve as the team’s technical advisor.
Coach Chenia has been in the National Under 20 set-up as assistant to then head coach Serame Letsoaka. Together they led Amajita to the second round of the Under 20 FIFA World Cup in 2009 before Letsoaka took up the position as the Association’s Technical Director. Coach Chenia took the National Under 20 team to the final of the COSAFA Under 20 challenge in 2009, and he went on to win the Four-Nations international tournament that was hosted by SAFA Sedibeng.
Chenia’s assistant, Luvhengo qualified the Under 17 Women’s team for the FIFA World Cup played in Trinidad and Tobago last year.
SAFA Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Pinky Lehoko says the team will be given all the support considering the limited time they have to prepare.
“We have assembled a strong technical team to lead our campaign to qualify for the Under 20 FIFA World Cup. It is obviously a tough assignment considering that all the teams in the tournament have been preparing for months and we were inactive after we failed to qualify initially. We have been given a second chance by virtue of being hosts after the withdrawal of Libya due to political unrest. Now it is incumbent upon all of us to rally behind the team. We have a positive record in this tournament and we should remain focused and take advantage of playing at home,” said Lehoko.
Amajita are already in camp preparing for a massive task ahead. While in camp, they will play friendly matches as part of their preparations for the tournament.
The South Africans are in Group A alongside Mali, Lesotho and Egypt. In Group B Ghana has been drawn against Cameroon, Nigeria and Gambia.
Venues for the tournament will be announced at a later stage.