13 October 2022 – South Africa’s Under-20 coach Vela Khumalo has now turned his attention to Mozambique as he prepares his charges for the crucial COSAFA semi-final tie between the two sides in Eswatini on Friday.
The South Africans reached the semi-finals of the COSAFA qualifier tournament after between Comoros 4-0 on Wednesday, while Mozambique, who are also the defending champions, beat Lesotho 2-1 in their final group match on the same day.
Khumalo said he has not seen much of Mozambique but will do his homework ahead of the Friday showdown.
“We need to go back and do our homework on Mozambique,” he said.
“This team is a work in progress and I think we are gaining the momentum as the tournament progresses. I am happy with way things are going.
“It is a case of us playing our normal football with the intention of winning, instead of chasing the game with an eye on results elsewhere. In this case we prepared thoroughly and took the game to Comoros. I think we are up for the challenge.”
South Africa started the tournament slowly and lost the opening match 0-2 to Malawi last week. But they recovered to beat Namibia 5-2 in the second match of the tournament before chalking up the 4-0 triumph against Comoros.
“It was one of those tricky games (against Comoros) where we were playing for goals. We started the tournament very slowly and put ourselves under unnecessary duress, however we got the result we wanted and we hope we will do well in the next game.”
Khumalo’s charges face the defending champions Mozambique in the first semi-final on Friday, and then Zambia engage Angola in the second match later on the same day.
The winners of the two semi-finals will qualify for next year’s U20 AFCON in Egypt.