Thabo Senong scouting for Amajita talent
Posted: 14 January 2018 Time: 19:45
South Africa Under-20 coach Thabo Senong has started a nationwide scouting mission for players to compete at the U-20 World Cup next year.
Senong, who also serves as an assistant to Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter, was in Durban last weekend to watch some NFD and ABC Motsepe League games, and he also linked up with Golden Arrows.
Amajita enjoyed a fine 2017, participating in the U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic in May before winning the COSAFA Cup in Zambia late last year.
Senong's charges have been invited to play in a North African regional event in March as he looks to generate momentum in the new year.
"At the moment we have just begun the two-year cycle of the Amajita group. So the two-year cycle starts now and it'll finish after the U-20 World Cup in 2019," Senong told KickOff.com.
"So in 2018 what will be happening is there will be a lot of work in terms of scouting, player recruitment, and then of course just after the month of June the U-20s will embark on qualifiers again to qualify for the CAF U-20 AFCON, which will be underway in June where the top four goes to the World Cup.
"At this stage we don't know because it is yet to be confirmed for AFCON. We are still waiting for the draw later this month, we'll play home and away. But now we just felt as the coaching staff it is important to embark on our scouting mission. Our scouting mission is mainly based in the ABC Motsepe League and of course in the SAB League.
“Of course we'll always consider MultiChoice Diski players, NFD and some PSL players. The Amajita group has 14 players at the moment that are based abroad and at the moment we are just communicating with their respective coaches. I'm talking about players like Sphephelo Sithole at Sporting Lisbon in Portugal, Tyrique Bartlett at Newcastle United Academy, Siph Mdlalose from Southampton and so forth.
"So we are just communicating with coaches but the next plan is obviously, if all is good in terms of the budget, to travel and go and watch these boys. So we got our work cut out because we are looking at players born in 1999, the year 2000, and the year 2001. So in these two years we will be working in that age group."
Senong pointed out SuperSport United duo Sipho Mbule and Teboho Mokoena were discovered playing in Bethlehem two years ago in a similar player recruitment drive.
"In 2015 we went to our scouting process. I went to Welkom and at Harmony Academy I went there to watch the SAB League teams. I watched Teboho Mokoena and it is where I got him. It is where I got Sipho Mbule," he said.
"We took Teboho Mokoena and he was at the Durban U-19 International [Tournament] in 2015. Sipho Mbule was at the 2016 edition and he scored a cracker against Arsenal. But they were playing in the same team at Harmony Academy, the same SAB League team from the same township in Bethlehem."
Senong is hoping that another player he has identified at Umvoti FC in the Motsepe League could prove to be another success story.
"There's one interesting player I have identified at Umvoti FC in the ABC Motsepe League. I have communicated with the coach Bheka Phakathi and I watched the player. So it is important that we keep those relationships with clubs so that we can source out the best players for the country."