Amajimbos, Amajita prepare for CAF Champs

2014-12-28 16:00

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The SA Under-17 and Under-20 national soccer teams will gather in Joburg on January 4 and 5 to begin preparations for their respective African Championships.

Amajimbos (the Under-17s) have qualified for the CAF African Youth Championships, which will be held in Niger from February 15 to March 1.

On Monday, they were drawn in a difficult Group B, which features defending champions Ivory Coast, Mali and Cameroon.

Group B consists of hosts Niger, Nigeria, Guinea and Zambia.

Following the draw, coach Molefi Ntseki said: “I am confident that we will do well with the squad we have. We have to go there and represent the region well.”

The team needs to finish in the top two in their group to qualify for the semifinals and in so doing book their ticket to the Fifa Under-17 World Cup in Chile from October 17 to November 8.

The four semifinalists will represent the continent at the global showpiece.

Safa will reveal the full preparation programme for the event in the new year.

Meanwhile, Amajita (the Under-20s) will go to camp on January 5 before departing for Qatar two days later and then flying to Russia from the Middle East.

They will play a Qatari representative side on January 10 before heading off to Russia to take part in the 2015 Russian Commonwealth tournament, which runs from January 15 to 26.

In the absence of head coach Thabo Senong, who will be assisting Shakes Mashaba at the Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea from January 17 to February 8, the team will be led by the interim coaching duo of David Notoane and Wendell Robinson.

Notoane will be assistant to Senong at the Senegal tournament, while Robinson will be the goalkeeping coach.

The tours to the two countries will form part of the team’s preparation for the CAF Under-20 African Youth Championship, which will be played in Senegal from March 8 to 22.

They have been drawn in Group B, along with Ghana, Mali and Zambia.

Group A consists of Senegal, Nigeria, Congo and Ivory Coast.

Just as in the case of their Under-17 counterparts, a top-two finish in their group will guarantee Amajita participation in the 2015 Fifa

Under-20 World Cup, which will be held in New Zealand.

A confident Senong said: “I am thinking beyond finishing among the top four.

“I want us to go to Senegal to win the tournament. I know I am aiming high, but this is very possible to achieve.”

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