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Amajimbos make history and are heading for the World Cup
- Updated: February 23, 2015
The South African Under-17 men’s football team have made history in Niamey, Niger as the first ever U-17 squad to qualify for the 2015 FIFA U/17 World Cup to be hosted by Chile in October this year.
Amajimbos beat Cameroon 3-1 in their final match of Group B of the CAF U/17 African Youth Championships at the General Seyni Kountche Stadium on Sunday, to make the semi-finals and automatically earn a spot at the World Cup, alongside Nigeria, Guinea and Mali.
South Africa made their intent known and as early as the second minute, took the lead. They won a set-piece on the edge of the box and from a goalmouth melee, the Cameroonians conceded an own goal.
Amajimbos never looked back from this advantage piling lots of pressure and by half-time, were 2-0 to the good.
In form striker Sibongakonke Mbatha was brought down inside the box to earn a penalty on the stroke of half-time and inspirational captain Nelson Maluleke coolly slotted the spot home to take what looked an unassailable lead.
Cameroon started the second half looking to salvage the situation and made a double substitution that paid off as Christian Bayemi managed to sneak a goal past the South Africans to reduce the deficit by half.
But in the 56th minute Luvuyo Mkatshana supplied a wonderful cross to Maluleke who slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-1 and restore the two-goal advantage.
The South Africans now face Nigeria in the semi-finals of the prestigious African tournament at the same venue on Wednsday afternoon.
‘We are grateful to God firstly for always being with us, we believe that the entire country is happy,’ said an elated Amajimbos coach Molefi Ntseki.
‘I’d also like to thank the South African Football Association (SAFA) and the technical team for all their hard work. Cameroon came with a plan but we had prepared for them very well.’
The South African starting line-up for the Cameroon match was: Mondli Mpoto; Katlego Mohamme; Thendo Mukumela; Revve Frosler; Notha Ngcobo; Athenkosi Dlala; Sibongakonke Mbatha; Nelson Maluleke (c); Wiseman Meyiwa; Luvuyo Mkatshana; Khanyisa Mayo.