4 February 2019 – South Africa’s National Under-20 (Amajita) head coach Thabo Senong applauded his charges for their gallant performance in their opening Group A Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations match against hosts Niger, adding that they gave a good account of themselves.

Amajita held the West African side to a 1-1 draw, after midfielder Siphesihle Mkhize headed home an equalizer in the 71st minute to cancel out Abdoul Amoustapha’s 64th minute goal.

Senong also stated that Amajita also created decent amount of chances, however, added that they were just unlucky not to have converted them.

“It was a good game of football for those who came out in their numbers to watch the match (at the Seyni Kouche Stadium),” Senong said. “Nobody wants to lose their first match of any tournament and I believe both sides came into this encounter prepared not to be on the receiving end of such.

“Niger had better preparations compared to my team,” Senong added. “We came into this tournament without having played a single friendly match while they had a couple. We also played without our goalkeeper and captain Khulekani Kubheka who got suspended during our qualifying rounds.

“With that said, my charges showed a great fighting spirit and I am happy with how they performed.”

In their next group match, South Africa will face current Group A leaders Nigeria, who beat Burundi 2-0 in their opening match.

Senong stated that he and his tactical staff will analyze their next opponents thoroughly, so that they can also come out with a positive result.

The match will take place on 5 February 2019 at the Seyni Kouche Stadium at 17H30.

“We will look at Nigeria and analyse how they play,” Senong said. “We still have good players in our squad who are yet to feature in our upcoming matches and I believe the team will be ready when we face Nigeria.”

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