25 April 2019 – The second and final friendly match between South Africa and Saudi Arabia on Friday afternoon (26 April) will be a different ballgame altogether.
This is according to South Africa’s National Under-20 (Amajita) centre-back, Fezile Gcaba, who reckons that Amajita were just unlucky to have lost 1-0 in their first friendly encounter against the hosts at the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Sports City Stadium this past Tuesday.
The second friendly match will take place at the very same venue at 15h15 (SA time).
Amajita are using both encounters as part of their preparations leading up to the upcoming 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup which will take place in Poland from 23 May – 15 June.
In the World Cup, Amajita will compete with the likes of Argentina, Korea Republic and Portugal in Group F – in pursuit of reaching the knockout stages of the tournament.
“Saudi Arabia are a side which likes to keep the ball on the ground,” Gcaba said. “That is why we did not struggle massively in our first meeting against them. We were just unlucky not to have scored”
“The second friendly is going to be a bit different though, tougher if you like,” Gcaba added. “And that is mainly because both sides now know what to expect from each other. Each side is going to plan more thoroughly because both teams know what they will be up against. A few changes might be made on either side in terms of how both national teams are going to approach the game; however, we are ready for the upcoming clash.”
After that match, Amajita will fly out to Poland on that very night to continue with their World Cup preparations there.
Amajita will face both Uruguay (15 May) and Ukraine (18 May) in their other two scheduled friendlies before the FIFA U-20 World Cup tournament kicks off in the same month.
Gcaba said their two friendly matches against Saudi Arabia will give them needed idea on how to approach their group fixtures in the upcoming World Cup.
“This will be a very good test for us leading up to the World Cup because their style of play is more similar to the Group F opponents we will be in the World Cup,” Gcaba said. “Both Argentina, Korea Republic as well as Portugal are national sides who like to keep the ball on the ground and I believe these two friendly encounters will help us to have an idea of what to expect in our group fixtures.”
PLAYER FACT FILE
Age (date of birth): 19, 3 March 1999
Club: Orlando Pirates
Previous Club: Junior Classic FC
League: ABC Motsepe League