Ntseki backs Amajimbos against China at BRICS U-17 Football Cup
Posted: 8 October 2016 Time: 14:49
Amajimbos coach Molefi Ntseki was impressed with his charges after they pulled off a 1-0 victory over India at the BRICS U-17 Football Cup in Goa, India.
South Africa left it late to arrive in the city but still managed to get the maximum points.
They will now face a China side that has already lost two matches in the tournament, which is contested by the five BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
India’s loss was also their second in the competition.
Meanwhile, all South Africa’s remaining matches in the group stages have been rescheduled to kick off at an earlier time – starting with China at 16h00 local time (12h30 SA time).
This will be followed by Brazil then Russia.
SAFA Media sat down with Ntseki to talk about the tournament.
Matlhomola Morake: Coach your impressions of the first match against India?
Ntseki: I think first of all we need to congratulate the boys, they had to dig deep to get the win considering the fact that we came here very late. The first challenge was to play our match against the hosts, who had lost their first match - so we expected them to put us under pressure and that’s exactly what they did. The good thing about our game is that we managed to score first, which allowed us to settle a bit and to apply our tactical ploy and to defend our lead. It was a good match for the youngsters from both countries and I was impressed with our debutants (Thabo Mokwena and Sthembiso Kurata), I think they acquitted themselves very well.
MM: The team travelled for about 24 hours, and arrived the night before the opening game, were you not worried about fatigue catching up with them?
MN: We had to improvise, instead of having a video session before the match we had a walk-through a few hours before the match and based on the results it worked because we were able to work on the tactical approach, the individual roles and responsibilities that had to be carried out in the game. I think the humidity took its toll on the players because they looked very dehydrated at half-time, but they did very well to protect the lead, which saw us win the match.
MM: Is it crucial how you prepare your team looking into the fact that matches are played every second day?
MN: We have experienced situations like these before and I think we are wise enough to know how to handle them – we are well aware that you won’t be able to squeeze in a training session because of the back-to-back type of matches we are playing. So we will be working more on the hydration and regeneration part and to psyche the boys to be mentally strong and to have a high level of tactical discipline. What is important for the medical team and us is to work together in trying to hydrate the boys more and have a lot regeneration exercises so we can have them fresher for every match.
MM: We face China in the next match, what are your thoughts?
MN: It will be very difficult to play a team that has lost both matches, much like it was when we faced India who were defeated in their opening encounter. I think in a tournament like this whoever loses a match will always try to do well in their next game, so obviously when we face China they will come looking for a win or a point. On the other hand we see this clash as a must-win because should we get the six points we stand a good chance of progressing to the next stage. It will be tough, but the belief we have in our boys will carry us through, and we should plan properly so we can get maximum points. As much as they will be coming at us to get a win, they will also be cautious.
MM: With the match moved to the afternoon, will the heat and humidity be much of a factor?
MN: When it comes to that, both countries will be playing in foreign conditions - China is not used to the conditions in India and same with us, so it will be a challenge to both teams. The most important thing is how we use and reserve our energy, which tempo to use and at what point. We must know when to attack and when not to, when to defend and how to do it, without depleting our energy levels so that we can be able to play 90 minutes without problems. But I think it will be more of a tactical game.
MM: Playing back-to-back matches, how are you planning on getting through the tournament – a system of rotation?
MN: This will be dictated to us by how the boys respond to the demands of the games. The idea is to use as strong a line-up as possible in all the matches so as to get all the way to the top – but you must remember there are issues like injuries, fatigue and suspensions. So we would like to keep as much of the same team as possible because the more they play together the better they become and it becomes easier for them to deal with challenges on the field when they come across them. Having said that, we must also take into consideration that we have players in the squad who have not played for this team before, so it would be wrong of us to throw them into the deep end. We need to introduce them gradually into the system so they fit in with the rest when called upon.
BRICS U-17 FOOTBALL CUP
Round Robin Stage – Bambolin Ground
Sunday, 9 October
South Africa vs China 16h00 (12h30 SA Time)
Brazil vs Russia 20h00
Tuesday, 11 October
Brazil vs South Africa 16h00 (12h30 SA Time)
India vs China 20h00
Thursday, 13 October
Russia vs South Africa 16h00 (12h30 SA Time)
India vs Brazil 20h00
3rd & 4th Place Play Off – PJN Stadium Fatorda
Saturday, 15 October
Group 3rd Place vs Group 4th Place 10h00 (06h30 SA Time)
FINAL – PJN Stadium Fatorda
Saturday, 15 October
Group Winner vs Group Runner Up 15h30 (12h00 SA Time)