Roger De Sa proud of Ajax Cape Town’s Under-23 stars
Posted: 17 December 2015 Time: 11:51
Ajax Cape Town coach Roger De Sa says he knew the South African Under-23 team would win their third-place Afcon play-off with Jody February in goals.
The 19-year-old shot-stopper was the hero for his national team, saving a penalty during regulation time and another three during the penalty shootout victory over Senegal to secure South Africa’s spot at the Olympic Games in Rio next year.
February’s club coach De Sa says he predicted the country’s victory when the game reached the lottery of penalties, knowing the youngster’s talents in saving from the spot.
“I was sitting next to my son watching the game, and I said to him, ‘If we go to penalties, we’ll win it’,” De Sa told reporters.
“And he asked, ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Because Jody is in goals.’ Do you know how many tournaments he’s won in shootouts? He’s got this little knack to save penalties. And as I said that, he saved the penalty during the match.
“To be honest, it was almost like a done deal when we went to penalties.”
De Sa says he was proud to see his Ajax players, including Rivaldo Coetzee, Riyaad Norodien and Abbubaker Mobara thriving on the international scene, saying it has been a phenomenal few months for the youngsters.
"It was fantastic to see not only our country qualify, but to see a lot of our players participating and contributing,” he said.
“For some of these guys, they went from a Nedbank Cup Final, to a Top 8 Final win and then qualifying for the Olympics in a space of a couple of months – and before that, they were playing Under-17s. So for these kids, it’s been a lot very, very quickly.”
De Sa is hoping his key players will help the club to victory in their final match of 2015 against Mpumalanga Black Aces on Saturday evening.