28 November 2018–South Africa’s National Under-20 side (Amajita) played to a 2-2 draw in a friendly clash against Premier Soccer League side, Highlands Park on Wednesday.

Amajita coach Thabo Senong said this was a good exercise for them to assess how far they have come in their preparations leading up to this year’s COSAFA Under-20 Championship set to take place in Kitwe, Zambia.

Amajita are in Group B; and will take on Mauritius, Namibia and Eswatini in a bid of fighting to progress to the knockout stages of the competition.

Senong stated that he chose both Highlands Park and Bidvest Wits’ ABC Motsepe league side as their two friendly match opponents because their playing style is more similar to the opposition they will be facing in their group fixtures.

The Southern regional football tournament will run from 2 – 14 December 2018.

“Our target was to get friendly matches against sides who play more or less a similar style of football of the opposition we will be playing up against in the upcoming tournament,” Senong said. “We will be playing against Mauritius, Namibia and Eswatini, sides who are both physically aggressive, tactically good and mentally strong as well. We found both Bidvest Wits and Highlands Park to have been the right teams to play up against before our trip to Kitwe.

“It was definitely a good exercise for us.”

Senong reiterated to his players that they need to take this tournament very seriously as defending champions, as it also falls under their preparation plan building up to next year’s Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations (AFCON).

A top four finish in next year’s Under-20 AFCON Niger edition scheduled to run from 2 – 17 February 2019, will see Amajita qualify for 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup tournament for the second time in a row.