Amajita coach Thabo Senong has named his starting XI for tonight’s U-20 African Nations Cup opener against Cameroon at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, Zambia.
Senong is employing a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Kaizer Chiefs forward Itumeleng Shopane leading the line with assistance from Ajax Cape Town’s rising star Grant Margeman, Portugal-based attacker Luther Singh and Bidvest Wits’ Sibongakonke Ntuthuko Mbatha.
Chiefs’ Wiseman Meyiwa and SuperSport United’s Teboho Mokoena will anchor the midfield, while Mamelodi Sundowns’ Notha Ngcobo, SuperSport’s Katlego Mohamme, Orlando Pirates’ Sandile Mthethwa and Downs’ Thendo Mukumela comprise the back four in front of Matsatsantsa goalkeeper Mondli Mpoto.
Mokoena will don the armband in the absence of suspended skipper Tercious Malepe, with Mpoto serving as vice-captain.
“Modern football is all about attacking and this is one of our strengths. We aim at creating and converting as many goals as possible this evening, but we have also told the players to respect the critical phases of the match,” said Senong.
“We know that the Cameroonians will use their height and presence to try and unsettle us, but we will stick to our game plan. We need to get a positive result today to ensure we don’t go into our last group stages match with any pressure. So a good start is very vital to keep alive our chances of making it into the all-important top four so we can book our place to the World Cup later this year.”
The Group B tie starts at 18h00 and will be broadcast live on SuperSport 9, as will Senegal’s earlier clash with Sudan at 15h00.
The top four finishers at the eight-team tournament will automatically qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, scheduled for South Korea from May 20 to June 11.
SA XI: Mondli Mpoto (GK), Notha Ngcobo, Thendo Mukumela, Katlego Mohamme, Sandile Mthethwa, Wiseman Meyiwa, Teboho Mokoena (C), Sibongakonke Mbatha, Grant Margeman, Luther Singh, Itumeleng Shopang.
Subs: Sanele Tshabalala, Khulekani Khubeka, Siyabonga Ngezana, Aghmat Ceres, Sipho Mbule, Kobamelo Kodisang, Liam Jordan, Khanyisa Mayo.