Senong maps road to World Cup
Posted: 22 August 2018 Time: 18:30
Amajita coach Thabo Senong is hoping to tie down a West African camp to prepare his side for next year’s AFCON, with the hopes of booking their spot at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
In less than six months, the South African national Under-20 side are set to compete at the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Niger, where the final four teams will qualify for the global showpiece to be hosted in Poland in May next year.
With 75 percent of the teams participating in Niger coming from West Africa, Senong deems it necessary to visit that part of the continent to adequately prepare his charges for the tournament, and is banking on SAFA to finalise opponents and fixture details for November.
“We are planning to have a West African tour in the month of November before we head off to Niger,” Senong told SAFA.net.
“We are hoping to secure a few good friendly matches with some West African sides as part of our preparations. Having such matches will play a massive role in getting our boys both physically and psychologically ready for a tournament, which will just be a few months away.
“And I say this because we’ve got six West African teams who have qualified for this tournament; the other being from East Africa (Burundi). Only South Africa is representing the COSAFA region.
“No friendly matches have been confirmed yet, but our team manager is working hard to ensure we get those matches.”
Should the tour materialise, Amajita will also have their COSAFA U-20 Challenge title to defend prior to the AFCON finals, and Senong believes this will be a fitting test for his side.
“The COSAFA Cup will also play an integral part in our preparations leading up to next year’s AFCON tournament,” he added.
“We are the COSAFA defending champions and we know that opposing sides will bring their A-game when they play us. Everybody wants to beat the defending champions.
“That’s just how football competition is like but that is what we want. I believe that is the type of challenge that will serve as a perfect platform to get our boys into the level of competitiveness we want them to be.
“Our dream is to qualify for next year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup, and that’s why we have already started collecting as much information about sides we will be playing against.”