Amajita face daunting task in Ilorin against fancied Nigerian side
The South African Under-20 side head to Nigeria for the second leg of their African Youth Championships qualifier on Sunday.
‘Amajita’ were held to a 1-1 draw in the home leg a fortnight ago and now face an uphill battle to qualify for the continental showpiece event that is to be staged in Algeria from March 16-30 next year.
The South Africans edged past Congo on away goals in the last qualification round, but now face an opponent whose pedigree in this competition is unrivalled.
But Amajita coach Solly Luvehngo says although the task at hand appears daunting, they will travel to Nigeria on Thursday with a positive attitude.
“We know it is going to be a tough match. We know what to expect and we definitely know what is at stake but the same goes for the Nigerians. They are also under pressure. We are preparing for battle and the players know that very well,” Luvengo says.
“Obviously the advantage is with Nigeria but that does not intimidate us. Any team that plays at home has three advantages; the field, atmosphere and the crowd; these are the three things we cannot do anything about, what we can do is prepare as much as possible and give it all we have.“
As the game falls outside of the Fifa calendar, clubs are not obliged to release their players for the game, but Luvhengo has managed to bag some players from PSL clubs.
These include leading scorer Thabani Mthembu from Platinum Stars, Mbongeni Gumede of Orlando Pirates and Travis Graham of Ajax Cape Town.
Nigeria are defending champions in the African Youth Championships, having won the last finals that was staged in South Africa in 2011.
Amajita squad to face Nigeria:
Brandon Joshua (Glendine United), Maselaelo Seanego (Watford FC), Lebo Ngubeni (University of Pretoria), Jerry Mxabo (FC Tigerburn), Marcus Lecki (Bidvest Wits), Mbongeni Gumede (Orlando Pirates), Chris Matombo (Pace Setters FC), Siyabonga Zulu (Sivutsa Stars), Travis Graham (Ajax Cape Town), Menzi Masuku (Africa Sports Academy), Gershin Kock (Vasco Da Gama), Luckyboy Mokoena (Bidvest Wits), Kaylan More (Jomo Cosmos), Percy Tau (Mamelodi Sundowns), Snethemba Ngidi (SuperSport United), Cebo Meyiwa (SuperSport United), Thabani Mthembu (Platinum Stars), Lorenzo Gordinho (Kaizer Chiefs)