South Africa’s National Under-20 (Amajita) held Nigeria to a frustrating 0-0 draw in their second Group A CAF Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations encounter on Tuesday at the Seyni Kouche Stadium.
This result means Amajita will now have to push for a win in their final group match against Burundi, to guarantee themselves a place in the knockout stages of this eight-nation continental tournament.
A top four finish in this biennial continental showpiece will also see Amajita secure their place in the upcoming 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup set to take place in Poland from 23 May – 15 June.
From the onset, Amajita frustrated their opponents with exceptional discipline they demonstrated from the back pressing forward. The Nigerian national side created a few chances of their own, however, struggled massively to find the back of the net.
Under the leadership of captain Khulekani Kubheka who made his return to the starting line-up, Amajita held their defensive line with sheer class. Kubheka was not available in Amajita’s first group match due to a one match ban he got during the AFCON qualifying rounds.
That discipline at the back held by Amajita carried on into the second period where Kubheka made some excellent saves to keep his side in the game in the dying minutes before full time.
Amajita also had a few chances of their own in front of goal, however, lacked the needed luck to convert them. Amajita will now travel to the city of Maradi on 7 February for their final group encounter against Burundi.
The national juniors were supposed to make their way to that city a day earlier (6 February), however, due to a Group B match cancelation between Ghana and Burundi scheduled for 3 February, they were obliged to postpone their trip to Maradi by a day.
Necessary arrangements have since been made with the CAF LOC to ensure that Amajita have a training session on an AstroTurf on 6 February before they depart for Maradi to ensure that they are ready for their final group match which will be on an AstroTurf.
Meanwhile, Amajita’s midfielder, Luvuyo Phewa earned his first cap after receiving the nod from coach Thabo Senong to start against Nigeria.