Amajita earn Mali draw
Posted: 19 February 2017 Time: 19:23
The South Africa Under-20 team played to a 1-1 draw with Mali in their final match before leaving for Zambia to take part in the 2017 CAF U-20 African Cup of Nations.
The tournament will take place in Lusaka and Ndola.
Both sides could easily have taken the lead in the opening 15 minutes of the match as both created a host of chances but either side was guilty of spurning good openings.
Masilakhe Phohlongo had the best chance of the first half, but saw his powerful effort come off the woodwork.
Goalkeeper Sanele Tshabalala was the difference for Amajita as he managed to make save after save to deny Ismaila Coulibaly and company any sniff of goals.
Both sides made changes at half-time with Liam Jordan coming off for Itumeleng Shopane, while the Eagles brought in Boubacar Traore and Sekou Koita for Zoumana Simpara and Ibrahima Kone.
Amajita were then dealt an injury blow when centre-back Siyabonga Ngezana had to be brought off and was replaced by Tercious Malepe in the 49th minute.
Amajita opened the scoring in the 74th minute when Itumeleng Shopane headed the ball into the back of the net from a Sibongakonke Mbatha free-kick.
The Eagles of Mali responded a minute later when Traore finished off a loose ball after keeper Tshabalala had made an initial save.
"Today was a great challenge for us, we were stretched but had to dig deep. We are very happy with the way the players responded and are confident that we will be ready for our first match of the CAF U-20 AFCON next Monday," said coach Thabo Senong.
"We obviously still have some work to do, we need to find a strategy to convert the many chances we create," added Senong.
Amajita will travel back to Johannesburg on Monday and continue preparations for the AFCON.
South Africa XI: Sanele Tshabalala (GK)(C); Aghmat Ceres; Katlego Mohamme; Sandile Mthethwa; Siyabonga Ngezana; Wiseman Meyiwa; Sipho Mbule; Sibongakonke Mbatha; Kobamelo Kodisang; Masilakhe Phohlongo; Liam Jordan
Substitutes: Khulekani Kubheka (GK); Notha Ngcobo; Tercious Malepe; Thendo Mukumela; Sydney Mtshweni; Grant Margeman; Nkosingiphile Ngcobo; Khanyisa Mayo; Itumeleng Shopane
Mali XI: Samuel Diarra (GK); Abdoul Karim Dante (C); Siaka Bagayoko; Dramane Simpara; Mamadou Kone; Ousmane Diakite; Sidiki Maiga; Moussa Diakite; Ibrahima Kone; Ismaila Cheick Coulibaly; Mohamed Sangare; Zoumana Simpara
Substitutes: Boubacar Traore; Moussa Djenepo; Mamadou Fofana; Drissa Kouyate(GK); Babou Fofana; Sekou Koita; Modibo Traore (GK)