Johannesburg - Amajita coach Thabo Senong has challenged his players to return to their clubs and work their way into the starting line-ups.
After winning the Cosafa Under-20 tournament in Zambia last weekend, Senong said it was up to his players to prove their worth at their clubs.
“They are going to be called back only if they behave well, are fit and on form at their clubs. The ball is now in their court and it is important that they look after themselves and remain professional footballers,” Senong said.
His concern was that players could become complacent and get lost along the way.
Remain professional footballers
“We have done this before and lost many players. We don’t want to win and then see the boys fall off the rails. We want them to stay in the zone and remain relevant".
Senong said the biggest problem with most players was inconsistency in their behaviour on and off the field.
“The onus is on them when they go back to their clubs because I have no doubt that their coaches will give them a chance.
“But if they don’t take those chances, they will go back to the bench and the stands. They must remain professional footballers around the clock".
Senong said he would give the players’ clubs feedback based on their behaviour and performance in the tournament.
“We wouldn’t have done it without the clubs’ support, so it’s important that we go back to them and give feedback on how we can collectively help these players".
Senong said that winning the tournament wasn’t just about achieving success, but also about moving local football forward.
Pool of exports
“We must always talk about progress and go through the steps of development.
“From here, these boys must go to the Under-23 team and then Bafana so they have a solid and stable career for years to come".
Senong said he would now focus on preparing for the CAF Youth Championships and the Under-23 Olympic Games qualifiers.
Senong hoped some players would be snatched up by overseas clubs to increase the country’s pool of exports. When more South African players played overseas, national teams benefited, he said.
Senong also thanked his technical team and support staff for a sterling job in the lead up to the tournament.