It’s still in our hands – Senong


THE Burger King-sponsored South African u20 Men’s National Team has arrived in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, for their last Group B match against Sudan in the CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations.

The clash will be played on Sunday, 5 March 2017 at the Heroes National Stadium.

Kickoff is at 15h00.

Amajita could be celebrating their qualification to the 2017 FIFA u20 World Cup in South Korea later this year, but let slip a 2-nil half time lead against Senegal – eventually going down 4-3.

The clash took place on Thursday, 2 March 2017 at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.

South Africa head coach Thabo Senong believes that the loss to the Lions of Teranga in their second Group B match was a much-needed wake up call, and the good thing is that there is a still a fixture to be played.

“The clash against Senegal was a typical game of two halves – we played well and won the first half, but lost our way in the second stanza, eventually losing the match. We had emphasized to the players that Senegal were wounded and would come strongly at us, which is exactly what they did. We also warned the players about the critical phases of the game, but such is football,” said Senong.

Amajita face an East African side that hasn’t registered a victory in the competition but still has a remote chance of making it to the last four. And Senong knows they cannot be taken lightly.

“All is not lost though, and the good thing is that procession to the next round is still in our hands, which simply means we are still very much in it – it’s all up to us. And that is very encouraging as we have everything to play for. We have to fight harder against Sudan and not take them lightly even though they haven’t won a single match so far,” added Senong.

“The players have learnt a vital lesson – one needs to work hard for what they want, and they now know that qualifying for the semi finals is not a joke and is not an easy task, they have to earn it. We have to ensure that we make the semi finals and qualify for the World Cup.”

After two matches, Senegal tops Group B with four points, just one above South Africa and Cameroon, while Sudan has just one point.

Senegal takes on Cameroon in the other Group B fixture at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.

Kick off is also at 15h00.

As matters stand, all four teams in this group have a chance to qualify for the semifinals.

* A win for South Africa will see them proceed, irrespective of what happens in the other match

* Senegal will also qualify if they draw against Cameroon

* A loss for Senegal, coupled with a South African victory will see Cameroon and South Africa in the last four

* Sudan can also qualify if they beat South Africa by two clear goals and Senegal beats Cameroon
 
The path to the semifinal seem clearer in Group A where the hosts have already book their place following successive wins, while the battle for second spot is between Egypt, Guinea and Mali.
 
Zambia will lock horns with Egypt while Guinea and Mali will go toe to toe. Both matches will be played on Saturday, 4 March at 15h00.
 
The hosts will also finish top of the group irrespective of the final results.
 
Zambia is on six points, followed by Egypt on two while Guinea and Mali have one each.
 
* A win for Egypt will guarantee them a place in the top four, regardless of the results from the other group match

* Should Egypt draw, and one between Mali and Guinea register a win, Egypt will be eliminated along with the loser from that match

* If both matches end in a draw, then Egypt will be safely in the semifinals
 
In the first knockout stages match, the winners of Group A (Zambia) will face Runners up from Group B, while the second match will pit the winners of Group B against the Runners up from Group A.
 
UPCOMING FIXTURES:
 
GROUP A:
Saturday, 4 March – 15h00
 
ZAMBIA vs EGYPT
HEROES NATIONAL STADIUM, LUSAKA
 
GUINEA vs MALI
LEVY MWANAWASA STADIUM, NDOLA
 
GROUP B:
Sunday, 5 March – 15h00
 
SUDAN vs SOUTH AFRICA
HEROES NATIONAL STADIUM, LUSAKA
 
SENEGAL vs CAMEROON
LEVY MWANAWASA STADIUM, NDOLA
 
 
LATEST STANDINGS:
 
GROUP A:
 
                                 P               W             L              D              GF           GA          GD           PTS
 
1. Zambia                 2               2               0               0               7               1               6               6    (Q)
 
2. Egypt                    2               0               0               2               1               1               0               2
 
3. Guinea                  2               0               0               1               1               2               -1              1
 
4. Mali                      2               0               1               1               1               6               -5              1
 
 
GROUP B:
 
                                   P              W             L               D              GF           GA           GD           PTS
 
1. Senegal                   2               1               0               1               5               4               1               4
 
2. South Africa          2               1               1               0               6               5               1               3
 
3. Cameroon               2               1               1               0               5               4               1               3
 
4. Sudan                      2               0               1               1               2               5               -3              1
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