Coach Mashaba praises victorious Amajita | SASCOC - SASCOC

Coach Mashaba praises victorious Amajita

Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba is a happy man after his national men’s Under-20 soccer side, Amajita, qualified for the semi-finals of the 2013 COSAFA Youth Championships in Lesotho.

Mashaba spoke after Amajita’s 0-0 draw against Namibia on Tuesday in the capital Maseru.

The result was enough to see South Africa through to the last four where they will face Group D winners Zimbabwe on Thursday.

ÔÇ£It was a very difficult match because they came with a game plan which almost worked for them as they nearly punished us in the 15th minute. But second half we came back strongly and kept them at bay. I am glad we have proceeded to the semi-finals as this now widens our opportunity to lift this trophy. The boys performed very well once again, and credit should go to them,ÔÇØ said Mashaba.

ÔÇ£We have Zimbawe in our next match so we have to work extra hard to ensure we make the finals. I am confident though that we will get positive results even though they will try to make it difficult because every team that plays us really comes strongly, and I like that as it helps my players grow.ÔÇØ

South Africa finished top of Group C with seven points from three matches ÔÇô two points ahead of Namibia (both sides haven’t lost at this stage of the competition). Amajita started with a 4-0 win over the Seychelles. They followed that up with a 1-0 victory over defending champions Zambia before wrapping it up with the goalless draw against Namibia.

Zambia could only manage four points while the Seychelles did not register a point and conceded 10 goals, scoring only one.

ÔÇ£This was a much-needed qualification for us. Our country is going through a dark period following the deaths of former State President Nelson Mandela and boxing legend Baby Jake Matlala. Imagine if we had come backwith negative results, we would have been sadder, more so because the people back home are starting to heal while we have to focus on the tournament,ÔÇØ added Mashaba.

The winners of Group A, Kenya, will face off against the top side in Group B, Angola, in the second semi-final and both games will be played in Maseru on Thursday.

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