Thabo Senong wary of Amajita inexperience at COSAFA Under-20 Championships
Posted: 12 December 2017 Time: 10:45
Amajita coach Thabo Senong is happy to have achieved their objective of reaching the COSAFA Under-20 Championships knockout phase, but admits improvement is needed.
The nationalU-20 side are unbeaten at the regional tournament currently underway in Zambia, where they are set to compete in the semi-finals on Thursday.
South Africa finished top of their group after beating Mauritius, Mozambique and Egypt over the past week, and will face the best runners-up from the three groups, which could possibly mean a re-match against the Young Pharaohs.
Senong is content with their progress and is wary of looking too far ahead.
“From the start, when we came here, we just said we’re going to develop and compete,” reiterated Senong after yesterday’s 2-1 win over Egypt.
“We’re not looking at the semi-finals or the finals but it’s all about approaching one game at a time.
“Our objective was to come out of our group so that we can go to the knockout stages, which is a different type of football.
“The legs are not there, the pitches are not playable but wet, very heavy and we’ll have to adjust again, and try to play a different style.”
Having whipped up a new-look, young Amajita side with a view to making an impact at the AFCON and World Cup, Senong concedes inexperience is a real threat to building on their unbeaten run in Zambia.
“Some of our players are a little bit inexperienced so they are taking time to adapt to the conditions. We’ve been playing every three days, so they are tired,” added the Bafana Bafana assistant coach.
“Also the pitch, to be honest, is not really playable so some our players can’t adapt. Our biggest problem is adapting. If they can adapt, maybe we can become a better team going forward.
“The anxiety of the players increases a little bit in the knockout stage, so we need to calm them down, analyse ourselves and we need to improve.
“We are not playing the best football that we can, so we need to make ourselves better and then hopefully we can do better in the next match.”
Amajita’s semi-final opponents are set to be confirmed on Tuesday afternoon, as the final round of group games take place.