Amajimbos give SA golden finish | SASCOC - SASCOC

Amajimbos give SA golden finish

By Gareth Duncan in Lusaka, Zambia

The South African men’s U17 football team secured a 2-1 comeback victory over Zambia in the Zone VI Games final.

Amajimbos head coach Eprhaim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba promised the nation that his team would be victorious, saying: ‘we did not travel all the way to Zambia for nothing. We came here to win ÔǪ to win gold.’

And his charges delivered on that promise as they overturned a 1-0 half-time deficit to be crowned the champions of the southern Africa youth competition.

They deserved the goal medal as they surged through the tournament with an unbeaten run. They topped Group A with three wins over Malawi (4-0), Botswana (3-2) and the Seychelles (4-1) and drew 0-0 with Zambia. They then beat Angola 3-0 in the semi-finals before gunning to first place.

However, it was a disappointing start to the final for the eventual winners.

South Africa conceded an early goal as Zambians took advantage from a corner. The visitors were guilty of ball watching and static defending in the box, and were rightfully punished.

The hosts enjoyed most of the ascendancy during the opening stages, but South Africa eventually settled and went on to dominated possession. The score remained the 1-0 to Zambia at half-time.

The Amajimbos came out stronger in the second stanza, and the early introduction of reserve winger Fagrie Lakay proved to be a masterstroke substitution.

Lakay first scored the equaliser with a long-range strike, which bounced in off the crossbar. Then he turned provider two minutes later, sneaking in midfielder Kabelo Seriba with a smart through ball behind the Zambian defence.
Malunga’s goal proved to be the match winner as both teams failed to capitalise later in the match.

Mashaba lauded his team’s composure under immense pressure.

‘It’s never easy playing against Zambia, especially on their home turf,’ Mashaba told ‘We conceded in the early goal. The crowd was backing them. But we fought ourselves back into the contest. We realised that there was space behind their defence. So we targetted that area in the second half, and it worked out for us.

‘It feels so good to celebrate gold. This is a talented squad of young players. We made South Africa proud.’

Lakay went on to be named Man of the Match and was selected in the tournament Dream Team.

The Amajimbos’ feat took Team South Africa’s final medal count at the Zone VI Games to 138, which includes 68 gold.

Louis Cloete
Louis Cloete

Happy new year Gareth. I am very proud of the South African teams performance in Zambia (in all codes) .ONE THING I HAVE TO SHARE WITH YOU IS :The 100m male relay team of NAMIBIA WAS ROBBED OF THEIR SILWER MEDAL We truelly came second to your team (R.S.A).Insead of disqialifing ANGOLA in line 7 ,Namibia bite the dust UNFAIRLY.(Athletics coach ,NAMIBIA).It was an experience to compete against my country of birth.Hope to see the team soon.BEST WISHES.