14 November 2019 – Do not expect South Africa to put their foot off the pedal when they face Nigeria in their final U-23 AFCON Group B match at the Al Salam in Cairo, Egypt this Friday evening (15 November).
This is according to South Africa’s National Under-23 midfielder, Teboho Mokoena, who scored his first professional free kick in a competitive match in South Africa’s 1-0 win against Ivory Coast on 12 November.
As it stands, South Africa are top of Group B with four points, a point ahead of their Friday night’s opponents, Nigeria.
South Africa remain the only national side who are yet to concede in this tournament from the two groups competing in this quadrennial continental 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games qualifiers.
The 22-year old Bethlehem-born midfielder stated that he and his teammates intend on building from their performances they produced in their last two games.
The match between South Africa and Nigeria will kick-off at 20h00.
“We played really well against Ivory Coast in our previous match and Nigeria is another side that we will need to manage as well,” Mokoena said. “We have been solid at the back in our previous two group games while pressing forward to create scoring chances of our own. The same approach will be applied in this tie, as we also want to win this game as well.
Mokwena, who scored a stunner of a free kick in South Africa’s first win of this tournament against Ivory Coast, revealed that being a free kick specialist has been one area he has been working on as a midfield player.
“Being a free kick taker is one area I have been working really hard on to improve as a player,” Mokoena said. “Lionel Messi is one of the guys that I look up to. He scored a free kick a few weeks ago where instead of running towards the ball; he takes a few steps walking before pulling a strike at goal.
“I tried his technique and it has been working really well for me ever since.”