Coach Duncan Crowie and his South Africa’s Under-17 team are eyeing a place in the 2023 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations after qualifying for the semifinals of the Region 5 Games in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Amajimbos qualified for the semis despite losing their last group match 1-0 to Zambia on Wednesday.
The two finalists in the competition in Malawi will book themselves a place at the continental finals in Algeria in April next year, and Crowie’s charges moved a step closer to their ambition when they beat the Mozambique 1-0 in their previous group match before the Zambia loss.
Siyabonga Mabena scored the only goal of the match, his sixth of the competition, to ensure that the SA Under-17 side reached the semifinals of this Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations COSAFA qualifier tournament.
“We expected a tough game against Mozambique and that is exactly what we got. Tough opponents, we found it very difficult to break them down, they played a lot of long balls, but the defense did very well and in the end we ran out winners,” said Crowie.
“But yes, we are looking forward to the semifinals and of course if we win that game we are through to Algeria, that is what everybody is working towards.”
Crowie reserved special praise for Mabena and said he was impressed with his talents.
“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. 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.”
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