Amajita head Coach Thabo Senong has named his starting line-up for their opening match of the 2017 FIFA World Cup against Japan in Group D, taking place on Sunday, 21 May in Suwon, Korea Republic.
Senong has selected two debutants in the first eleven – Malebogo Modise and Thabo Cele.
Mondli Mpoto gets the nod in goals.
Modise will occupy the left back position, while Thendo Mukumela will operate at right back. Captain Tercious Malepe will start in central defence alongside Sandile Mthethwa.
Wiseman Meyiwa will anchor the midfield with Cele, while the trio of Luther Singh, Grant Margeman and Sibongakonke Mbatha will assist lone striker Keletso Makgalwa with attack.
Senong believes the Burger King-sponsored U20 Men’s National Team will have to play their own game if they are to beat the Asian champions.
“Japan is a quality side that is highly disciplined and technically very strong. We have worked very hard preparing for this encounter because the opening match in every tournament is very crucial. I believe we have done everything possible to ensure that we get the best out of our players,” said Senong.
“We have also emphasized to the boys that it is very important that they stay focused but should not forget to enjoy themselves. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity – very few players will ever get the chance to participate in a World Cup tournament, especially more than once. But I also believe this is a stepping stone for many players, as this is the kind of moment that could change their lives forever.”
This is how they line up:
South African starting XI:
Mondli Mpoto (GK); Malebogo Modise; Thendo Mukumela; Tercious Malepe (C); Sandile Mthethwa; Wiseman Meyiwa; Thabo Cele; Luther Singh; Grant Margeman; Sibongakonke Mbatha; Keletso Makgalwa
South African Substitutions:
Sanele Tshabalala (GK); Khulekani Kubheka (GK); Shane Saralina; Sirgio Kammies; Reeve Frosler; Sipho Mbule; Kobamelo Kodisang; Masilakhe Phohlongo; Liam Jordan