Head coach of the South African Men’s U20 National Team, Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, believes they have a difficult task ahead of them but can still overcome it.

Head coach of the South African Men’s U20 National Team, Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, believes they have a difficult task ahead of them but can still overcome it.

Amajita face Cameroon in the third and final round of the qualifiers for the 2015 Senegal African Youth Championships.

Mashaba’s boys will be away to the West Africans in the first leg scheduled for the weekend of 15-17 August 2014. The second leg will be held two weeks later on the weekend of 29-31 August in South Africa.

“Cameroon will be difficult, no doubt about it and matches against them have never been easier because those countries from West Africa dominate the Youth Championships. For us now we need to plan properly to ensure that we go there well armed. The fortunate part is that we are playing the first leg away, so we need to go there, get a good result and come back home to finish it off. I would take any positive result away, if there was half a nil I would also go for it – but then we need not allow them to score here at home,” said Mashaba.

“We might have a practice match in West Africa before we face Cameroon. Besides the preparation match we know what to expect – they are physical, push forward all the time and sometimes play long balls. They also have skillful players in their teams. We don’t have big boys and we shouldn’t go to a corner and cry about it, but we need to develop big hearts – go in there and not chicken out. Also keep possession.”

South Africa proceeded to the third round following a 3-0 aggregate win over Ethiopia – 2-0 and 1-0 in Addis Ababa and South Africa respectively.

“Even though they had a greater potion of the ball possession, they didn’t have that element of surprise about them which made our job easier. We were happy and comfortable with our first leg lead. But we knew that if they had scored it would have put us under pressure in that we would have had to worry about them not equalizing instead of playing our normal game. An equaliser would have meant starting all over again. Fortunately when we got that penalty, which was a correct decision, I started to relax because they now needed to score four goals to win,” added Mashaba.

Goalkeeper Dumisani Msibi, who had a brilliant day at the office echoed Mashaba’s words.

“It was a great game indeed and they are difficult side to play against. They dominated the match, which shows how good they are. I am just delighted that we are into the third and final round. This is what we have been playing for and I do believe we can go all the way. Next is Cameroon and we will do the same as we have done, play one game at a time and focus on our game. We should not worry about them, they should worry about us,” concluded Msibi.

The overall winner between South Africa and Cameroon will join hosts Senegal and six other nations for the final tournament scheduled for 8-22 March 2015 with the semi-finalists qualifying to represent Africa at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

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