South Africa’s National Under-20 coach Thabo Senong named his 21-man squad that is to travel to Niger ahead of the upcoming CAF 2019 Africa Cup of Nations set to run from February 2-17.
Senong kept the bulk of his Amajita squad that defended their 2018 COSAFA Under-20 Championship title in Kitwe, Zambia after beating Zimbabwe 4-3 on penalties, following a 1-1 draw after fulltime in the final.
Portugal-based Sanjoanense FC forward Kobamelo Kodisang, AmaZulu defender Sibusiso Mabiliso and Mamelodi Sundowns’ Thabo Moloisane, returned to the national setup after missing out in last year’s Southern regional football tournament.
New faces in Senong’ squad include Bidvest Wits defender Keenan Phillips, Real Kings midfielder Luvuyo Phewa, TS Sporting’s Simphiwe Ncamani, AmaZulu forward Bayanda Shangase and Leicester City’s midfielder Khanya Leshabela.
Senong stated that he had a tough time selecting from the 28 players who reported for his provisional squad, adding that all called up players fought really hard to make the final team.
Amajita travelled to Niger on Wednesday following their final practice match against SAFA’s ABC Motsepe League side Dube Continental FC, at the Nike Football Training Centre this morning.
“We worked with a very talented group which made it really difficult for us to come up with the final 21-man squad that is to represent the country in Niger,” Senong said. “It is every player’s dream to represent their nation at the highest level and is quite unfortunate that we could not take all of them.
“I believe we have selected a balanced squad that will represent the nation well in the upcoming AFCON Under-20 tournament.”
Amajita are in Group A alongside hosts Niger, Burundi and Nigeria in this year’s biennial junior continental showpiece.
A top four finish will see Amajita qualifying for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup for the second time in a row, after having done so back in 2017 for the South-Korea addition.
Goalkeepers: Glen Baadjies, Khulekani Kubheka, Kopano Thuntsane
Defenders: Njabulo Blom, Keenan Abrahams, Givemore Khupe, Sbusiso Mabiliso, Fezile Gcaba, Brendon Thabo Moloisane, Keenan Phillips
Midfielders: Siphesihle Mkhize, Luke Le Roux, Kobamelo Kodisang, Promise Mkhuma, Simphiwe Ncamani, Khanya Leshabela
Strikers: James Thabiso Monyane, Malebogo Modise, Bayanda Shangase