24 August 2019 – South Africa’s National Under-20 (Amajita) interim coach Helman Mkhalele says their final 2019 All Africa Games Group A match against Burkina Faso played a massive role in helping him to assess all of his players whom he had selected for this tournament.
Amajita were subject to a 4-0 defeat to eventual Group A winners Burkina Faso at the Stade Municipal El Mansouria in Mansouria, Morocco on Friday night.
Mkhalele stated that he was disappointed with the outcome of that match, also adding that his young squad can only grow from this experience.
In this year’s All Africa Games semi-finals, Burkina Faso will lock horns with second place Group B finishers Senegal, while Nigeria will take on Mali at the Centre Sportif F.A.R in Rabat on 27 August.
“This was a really tough match for us,” Mkhalele said. “We played really well, however, turned to struggle on infiltrating our opponents up in their defensive third. Each goal Burkina Faso scored was created from transition plays, and this is one experience that we hope our young players can learn from.”
In that tie, Mkhalele made eight changes from a squad which played to a 2-1 defeat against Nigeria. The Bafana Bafana legend explained that this was because he wanted to observe some of the players who did not get the chance to play in their Group A match against the West African side.
“When I realised that we were out of this tournament, I decided to field players who did not feature in our group match against Nigeria,” Mkhalele said. “This was done mainly because of I wanted to give them some international experience, while also assessing how they responded to the demands that comes with representing your nation at this level. They worked really hard in trying to adapt to the demands of that match, however, unfortunately things did not go our way.”