27 July 2018 – South Africa have sealed their place in the final of the 2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championships after a 2-0 victory over hosts Mauritius on Friday, 27 July 2018 and in doing so take a step closer to the continental finals in Tanzania next year.
Motlhalosi Nare netted a fine opener in the second half before the victory was sealed late on when Mauritian defender Yohan Dupre put the ball into his own net.
Amajimbos will now await the winner of the second semifinal between 2016 winners Namibia and Angola to see who they will meet in Sunday’s (29 July) final in Port Louis.
The victor in this tournament will advance to the African Under-17 Championships in Tanzania, which in turn serve as the qualifier for the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Peru.
The hosts made a bright start but the first clear-cut opening fell to Bongolwethu Siyasi, who put his header from a cross by Storm Jonas over the bar.
Sphiwe Nkabinde forced an excellent save from Mauritian goalkeeper Michel, before Nare found the opener with a neat finish that was his second goal of the tournament.
Nkabinde then struck the crossbar with a thunderous drive as Amajimbos pushed for a second, but the score remained 1-0 at the break.
South Africa kept pressing in the second period as Dante Brown and Boitumelo Radiopane saw their efforts blocked, before Nare almost grabbed another only to be denied again by Michel.
Mauritius had a spell of pressure in the final 15 minutes as they sought the equaliser, but South Africa goalkeeper Bontle Molefe kept them at bay.
The win was secured in the first minute of injury-time at the end of the game when the unlucky Dupre turned the ball into his own net.
The excellent Nare was named Man of the Match and South Africa now look to put past recent disappointments in this competition behind them by claiming gold on Sunday.
They finished as runners-up in 2016 and in fourth in 2017.
Bontle Molefe, Leonardo Rooi (captain), Sphiwe Nkabinde (Azola Tshobeni 78’), Athenkosi Mcaba, Vusumuzi Plamana, Storm Jonas (Thato Matli 76’), Boitumelo Radiopane, Morapedi Ralenkoane, Motlhalosi Nare, Bongolwethu Siyasi, Dante Brown (Thando Buthelezi 64’)