Niger U20 1-1 South Africa U20: Thabo Senong's men draw Afcon opener

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Thabo Senong's charges failed to open their Afcon tournament with a win following their 1-1 draw against Niger on Saturday night

The South African U20 national team opened their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a draw against Niger. 

Amajita were looking to start the tournament on a positive note in order to enhance their chances of qualifying for the Fifa World Cup later this year.

South Africa had a bright start to the encounter with Keenan Abrahams coming close to breaking the deadlock as early as the second minute. 

Thabo Senong's men had Niger against the ropes in the early stages of the match with Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Nkosingiphile Ngcobo also testing Niger goalkeeper Khaled Ibrahim soon afterwards. 

While Niger saw most of the ball midway through the first half until the half-time break, it was South Africa who squandered two great chances in the final 10 minutes of the first period. 

Thabiso Monyane and Fezile Gcaba came close to firing Amajita in front, but in the end, neither of them could find the back of the net as both teams headed into the dressing rooms locked at 0-0. 

Amajita continued where they left off after the restart, but they failed to create clear-cut goalscoring chances. 

Niger hit back as the breached Amajita's back four in the 62nd minute. Boubacar Goumey had a chance to fire the home side into the lead, and he made no mistake from close range, much to the delight of the home crowd. 

That goal was a clear wake-up call for South Africa as they fought back to equalize nine minutes later through Siphesihle Mkhize, who powered his header into the back of the net from inside the box. 

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It was end-to-end stuff in the final 10 minutes of the game as both sides pushed forward for the winner. 

Nonetheless, both sets of players failed net what would have been the winner for either side and therefore had to settle for a share of the spoils. 

Amajita will now shift focus on Nigeria this coming Tuesday. Kickoff for the encounter is at 16h30 SA Time. 

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