10 May 2023 – South African Football Association (SAFA) President Dr Danny Jordaan and new CEO Lydia Monyepao have sent their best wishes to Amajimbos ahead of the 2023 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal showdown against Senegal on Wednesday (10 May 2023).
A lot will be at stake in this match as the four semi-finalists will earn a place in the FIFA U-17 World Cup, scheduled for later this year.
“Congratulations to the under-17 team. They are now in the knockouts stages. Of course this is the Last 8 and if they get through to the last four, the last four will qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup,” the SAFA President said.
“But they have a massive challenge in Senegal. I think Senegal is one of the best teams. But we too have showed our ability to score against any opposition. However, we have to tighten some of the things in the back. So I think our wishes are with the coach Duncan Crowie, the technical staff and the players. We want to wish them all the best as they take the final hurdle. They get through this hurdle and they have qualified for the World Cup, a huge opportunity and a huge challenge. They could not get a huge and better challenge than to face Senegal, a team I think was one of the best teams based on their performances there.
“So we will keep our fingers crossed. We wish them all the best. We have high quality players in the team and we hope they will perform.”
The new SAFA CEO said the South African under-17 men’s national team must remain focused on the task at hand and believe in themselves.
“I want to wish coach Duncan and the boys all the best when they take on Senegal. It is not going to be easy, but I think it’s just about keeping focus and not letting Senegal (dominate),” she said. “We are the underdogs because Senegal has performed so well in different categories, and in the different levels of football. But I think it’s just about believing in ourselves, and in our own abilities. I have stayed up quite late at night to watch the team’s games in the tournament and the last one was against Nigeria (The Nigerians won the match 3-2).
“I think we had a very good chance, but we squandered our opportunities. But you can understand because these are young boys, we need to invest in them and they can grow. They are future Bafana Bafana players and we are really grateful that they are getting the opportunity to play at this stage, and getting a taste of international football at a young age.”