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Africa U17 Cup of Nations Qualification

South Africa's Amajimbos edge closer to securing Afcon U17 spot despite Zambia defeat

6:10 AM GMT 08/12/2022
Sifiso Timba, Amajimbos & Marcel Zimba, Zambia, December 2022
South Africa moved closer to booking their spot in the 2023 Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations finals despite losing to Zambia on Wednesday night.
  • Amajimbos recorded their first defeat of the tournament
  • Coach Duncan Crowie had made eight changes to the team
  • A win over Malawi will see Amajimbos qualify for the Afcon finals

WHAT HAPPENED? Amajimbos succumbed to a narrow 1-0 defeat to the Junior Chipolopolo in their final 2022 Cosafa U17 Championship Group B encounter which was played in Lilongwe, Malawi. 
The regional tournament is being used as Southern Africa's qualifiers for next year's Afcon finals. The two finalists will qualify for the continental competition which will be hosted by Algeria.
The only goal of the match was netted by Man of the Match Marcel Zimba in the first half as South Africa coach Duncan Crowie paid the price for resting his key players.
Siyabonga Mabena and Benjamin Wallis were among the eight players who were rested by Crowie as Amajimbos progressed to the semi-finals as Group B runners-up.

WHAT WAS SAID: “Mabena has been a revelation, and keeping in mind that he is only 15 years old. He can play another year or two in the under-17s," Crowie said. 
"I am sure that after teams watch his performances here in Malawi, a lot of them will be after his signature. Fantastic player, we must just keep him grounded.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Crowie's key players will be well-rested when Amajimbos take on tournament hosts Malawi in a semi-final match on Friday.
Mabena, who remarkably netted six goals in two group stage matches which were against Seychelles and Mozambique, is expected to lead the attack.
Amajimbos captain and goalscoring defender Wallis will lead the team having grabbed an impressive hat-trick against Seychelles while playing as a centre-back.
First-choice goalkeeper Gennaro Johnson will be eyeing his third successive clean sheet in the tournament when he returns to the team.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR SOUTH AFRICA?: The match between Amajimbos and Malawi will take place at Bingu National Stadium. A place in Sunday's tournament final and 2023 Afcon finals will be at stake.