12 February 2019 – When Keenan Phillips was 11-years-old, the South African Under-20 (Amajita) defender boldly declared to his father that he would one day play in a junior FIFA World Cup tournament.
A few odd years later, Abrahams fulfilled a portion of that prophecy he had said upon his life, by being part of the national under-20s who just recently qualified for this year’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup Poland edition.
Amajita qualified for their second FIFA Under-20 World Cup tournament in a row after reaching the final four of this year’s ongoing CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) currently taking place in Niger.
It is a feeling the pacey 18-year-old wing-back says he cannot get over to this very day.
“My debut match was against the hosts, Niger, in our opening Group A match of the tournament,” Phillips says. “The feeling was just beyond words to describe because this is what I always wanted to do ever since I was a kid.
“I called my dad after we qualified and he reminded me of the hard work I used to put in to realise this dream of mine.”
Amajita will take on Senegal in their AFCON Under-20 semi-final encounter on Wednesday (13 February 2019) in pursuit of fighting to reach the final of this year’s biennial continental showpiece.
Phillips says they will do everything in their power to push for a spot in this year’s AFCON final.
The match will kick-off at 20h30 (SA time) at the Seyni Kountché Stadium in Niamey.
“The technical staff has been working really hard in getting the team ready for this crucial matchup,” Phillips says. “Everybody in the team has been working really hard as well and we will do everything in our power to push for a positive result in that match.”
AMAJITA PLAYERS WHO EARNED THEIR FIRST NATIONAL CAPS IN THIS AFCON U-20 TOURNAMENT
Defender Fezile Gcaba, South Africa vs Niger (Group A match)
Defender Keenan Phillips, South vs Niger (Group A match)
Midfielder Luvuyo Phewa, South Africa vs Nigeria (Group A match)
Midfielder Khanya Leshabela, South Africa vs Burundi (Group A match)