01 May 2023 – The South African under-17 men’s national team suffered a defeat in their opening match of the 2023 U17 Africa Cup of Nations when they went down to Morocco at the Stade Mohamed-Hamlaoui stadium, in Algeria, on Sunday evening (30 April 2023).
Amajimbos started the game as the better side and created a host of opportunities, but they could not find a way past a defensively disciplined Moroccan side in the first half. The two teams went to the halftime break deadlocked at 0-0.
The second half started with the introduction of forward Gabriel Amato who replaced defender Xolani Tshaka, but coach Duncan Crowie’s team could not find the elusive opening goal .
Morocco were awarded a penalty in the 73rd minute after the ball appeared to have touched Benjamin Wallis’s hand inside the box. Ait Boudlal made no mistake and converted from the spot to put Morocco in the lead.
For a moment it looked like South Africa would get the equalizer as they continued to take the game to the North Africans, but it was the Moroccans who extended their lead in the 83rd minute after Adam Hanin capitalised on miscommunication between goalkeeper Kyle Jansen and his defenders.
South African head coach Duncan Crowie said after the match his team had the upper hand during the encounter.
“It’s not a case of what did not work. A lot ofthings worked for us. We had the upper hand and more ball possession. We had territorial advantage as well, but unfortunately in the final third we came unstuck because they had numbers behind the ball,” said Crowie
“As you could see, they played on the counter and they played on the long ball and two mistakes led to their goal.
“If it was not for those two things, we had the upper hand and with better control in the final third we could have created more opportunities.”
The South Africans face Zambia in their second group game on Wednesday, 3 May 2023.