Head coach of the South African Men’s Under-17 National Team (Amajimbos), Molefi Ntseki believes his team is improving following their 2-0 victory over Botswana in a practice match played on Thursday, 3 July at the Sir Seretse Khama Barracks Stadium in Mogoditshane, Botswana.
Vuyo Mkatshana and Kananelo Motsoeneng scored the goals on either side of the half.
“We have a group of boys who come from different schools of training but are willing to learn more because they are now playing at a different. So I must admit I can see some improvement since we first got together two weeks ago. We were able to see some touches of touches of brilliance but we are aware we still have a lot of work to do and that is why these matches are important before we go to Tanzania. Although training sessions are helping, the matches give us an indication of how much we are improving or not,” said Ntseki.
Amajimbos did well in the first half against Botswana but seemed to lose their way in the second half. Playing away is also key to preparations for the qualifiers.
“It was a very important game for us to play, especially away and under those conditions because the idea is to prepare the boys mentally and physically. We scored first but in the second half they put a lot of pressure on us and you could the boys becoming nervous as the supporters of the home team were cheering their side on – and for me that was a good exercise because playing away will always be like this, so the boys must get used to it,” added the head coach.
“They also needed to know how it is like leading away and how to protect that lead and end up winning the match despite the noise from the stands. Our boys really dug deep in the second half because they Botswana was coming gly at us – and still managed to get the second goal to give us a breather and more confidence. The results were very good but the atmosphere made it a perfect outing to help the boys grow.”
Ntseki says there are still some areas of concern picked up from the match.
“The session we had today (Friday, 4 July) was addressing some areas of concern – the defence. Our players need to be sharp in 1 v 1 or 2 v 1 situations and we were working on that. The confidence was gone in the second half as they were struggling to deal with these situations. The other thing is the question of when do you defend high up the field or near your goal area. But we are slowly getting there and the game against Botswana really showed us what we needed to see,” concluded Ntseki.
The second match against Botswana will be played on Sunday, 6 July and then the squad moves to Lesotho for two more matches.
The 2015 African Youth Championship qualifier will be played on Friday, 18 July in the capital Dar es Salaam.
Source : South African Football Association