World Cup waits for SA champs

If Ama­jita beat Su­dan this af­ter­noon, they also book a berth in the Af­con semi­fi­nals

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Go­ing to their fi­nal CAF Un­der-20 Africa Cup of Na­tions, the South African na­tional team know what to do in Zam­bia this af­ter­noon: beat Su­dan. They will then not only go through to the Fifa Un­der-20 World Cup, but also to the Af­con semi­fi­nals. Ama­jita’s fate is in their own hands and a vic­tory this af­ter­noon will guar­an­tee them a spot in Korea later in the year.

But Thabo Senong’s charges made life dif­fi­cult for them­selves af­ter throw­ing away a healthy 2-0 lead at half-time on Thurs­day to even­tu­ally lose 4-3 to a de­ter­mined Sene­gal.

But it is not the end of the world for them as they can still re­deem them­selves against a Su­dan side that lost 4-1 to Cameroon.

Af­ter start­ing the tour­na­ment on a high by beat­ing Cameroon 3-1 in their open­ing game, Ama­jita were let down by some poor de­fend­ing as com­pla­cency crept in against Sene­gal.

They led 2-0 go­ing into the break, but Sene­gal ral­lied back in the sec­ond half to score four goals.

Ama­jita now find them­selves in sec­ond spot – a point be­hind Sene­gal – and should avoid de­feat against Su­dan. But even a draw could be enough if Sene­gal beat Cameroon in the other Group B match.

The two west African teams will can­cel each other out as the vic­tors of this game will book a place in the semis and also a ticket to Korea.

The South Africans are now likely to fin­ish as run­ners-up, which means they will play against the hosts in the semi­fi­nals.

But Ama­jita have what it takes to make it through against Su­dan, who could still make it to the semis with a win over the South Africans.

With a point from a draw in their open­ing game against Sene­gal, Su­dan will go to four if they beat South Africa and hope Sene­gal beat Cameroon.

Senong will once again rely on the likes of Luther Singh, who has four goals un­der his belt so far, and Phaka­mani Mahlambi, who missed the 3-1 vic­tory over Cameroon last Sun­day.

The speedy young Bid­vest Wits player will leave the camp im­me­di­ately af­ter this game to pre­pare for the Stu­dents’ CAF Cham­pi­ons League clash with Egyp­tian gi­ants Al Ahly at the week­end.

He was only re­leased for the group stages of the tour­na­ment and will miss Ama­jita’s semi­fi­nal clash, if they make it. But he would have helped them to qual­ify for the World Cup any­way.

PHOTO: MUZI NTOMBELA / BACKPAGEPIX

DOWN BUT NOT OUT Ter­cious Malepe and his team-mates have a chance of qual­i­fy­ing for the Fifa Un­der-20 World Cup

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