SOUTH Africa’s national Under-20 Men team, Amajita had to come back from behind to defeat Costa Rica 2-1 in an international friendly match played on Monday afternoon (May 15) in Gapyeong, Korea Republic.
Both nations used the match as part of preparations for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup that kicks off on May 20 with the final match taking place on June 11.
With only five days before the start of the tournament, the win will come as a confidence booster for the South Africans.
A ninth minute set-piece goal from Yosin Salinas saw Amajita trailing against Costa Rica.
But the South Africans fought back and stuck to their game plan as Keletso Makgalwa, Sibongakonke Mbatha and Luther Singh created many chances in search of an equaliser.
Singh restored parity just seven minutes later from a beautifully taken free kick after Costa Rican goalkeeper Pinede, had committed a foul on Singh.
The second half was a very tight affair as both teams were looking for the winning goal, but it was Sibongakonke Mbatha who managed to get the important tap-in in the 62nd minute after Keletso Makgalwa had eliminated three defenders.
“We are very grateful to Costa Rica for the tough challenge, this was the kind of exercise we needed. We are still very slow, mainly because we are still working on our tactical approach and polishing up in some areas of our game. The players are getting back into their normal routine and we have almost adapted to the different time zones and climate. We can’t wait for the World Cup to kick off. I believe come Sunday (21 May) when we play our first match we will be ready,” said Amajita head coach Thabo Senong.
South Africa’s FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign will kick off with a clash against Japan in Group D.
The match will take place at Suwon World Cup Stadium in Suwon, Korea Republic and kick-off is at 10pm.
South African U-20 Starting XI:
Mondli Mpoto; Thendo Mukumela; Malebogo Modise; Tercious Malepe (C); Sandile
Mthethwa; Wiseman Meyiwa; Thabo Cele; Sibongakonke Mbatha (Phohlongo 88’); Luther
Singh (Kodisang 66’); Grant Margeman; Keletso Makgalwa (Jordan 82’)
Sanele Tshabalala; Khulekani Kubheka; Shane Saralina; Sipho Mbule; Masilakhe
Phohlongo; Kobamelo Kodisang; Liam Jordan
Costa Rica U-20 Starting XI:
Adonis Pinede (GK)(C); Ian Smith; Esteban Gonzalez; Yostin Salinas; Eduardo Juarez;
Luis Hernandez (C); Jonatan Martinez; Jimmy Marin; Randall Leal; Diego Mesen; Gerson Torres
Costa Rica Subs:
Mario Sequeira; Brayan Segura; Juan Arguedas; Esteban Espinoza; Cristopher Nunez;
Jostin Daly; Suhander Zuniga; Bernald Alfaro; Pablo Arboine; Barlon Sequeira