South Africa ……(2)2 (Vicky Mkhawana 6’, Siyabonga Mabena, 45+3)
Nigeria…………..(1)3 (Adah Agada 34’, Light Eke 46’, Idris Abdullahi 64’)
07 May 2023 – The South African Under-17 men’s national team’s fate is no longer in their own hands after suffering a defeat to the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria in a crucial 2023 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations group match at the Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui on Saturday evening.
Coach Duncan Crowie’s young side took the lead in the early first half through Vicky Mkhawana who made it three goals in two matches [he scored two goals against Zambia]. The resilient Nigerian side responded with a goal in the 34th minute to bring the game level. However, teenage sensation Siyabonga Mabena regained the lead for Amajimbos and South Africa went to the break leading the match.
Nigeria proved that group B was truly the group of death as many predicted when Light Eke opened the second half with a goal to bring the team level yet again.
Then Idris Abdullahi’s 64th minute strike put Nigeria ahead and the goal was enough to seal the victory for the West Africans and book a place in the quarterfinals of the continental competition.
Man of the match Mabena was happy with his accolade but disappointed with the results that did not go in his team’sfavour.
“I feel happy to be man of the match but this is the results we were not expecting as a team, we wanted to win it,” said Mabena.
The player further added that he still believes there is a bright future for him and his teammates despite the results against Nigeria.
“I think if we can grow together as a team, we can win some tournaments and qualify for the World Cup. It may not be the U17s but maybe in the U20s but we have talented players.”
Amajimbos will have to wait for the Group C encounter between Burkina Faso and Cameroon to see if they will progress to the next stage of the competition or not.