South African U-17 men’s national team, Amajimbos, interim coach, Vela Khumalo, has named his 20-man squad for the 2019 Cosafa championship, scheduled for 11 to 20 October in Blantyre, Malawi.
Khumalo said they had a difficult time coming up with the final team, because the boys they called up were very good in their respective positions.
“After a thorough assessment we had to go with the 20 players as per the regulations of the tournament, but even the ones left behind are very talented. I am also confident that they will represent the country well in the Cosafa Cup. I am very positive they will fight to reach the final,” said Khumalo.
He added that he chose much younger players to compete in the tournament because the focus is on the future.
“We could have brought in much older players as compared to the U-14s and U-15s we had selected to compete in this year’s Cosafa edition. However, that approach was going to hurt our plans in the long run as we are preparing for next year’s Cosafa tournament, which will also double up as the 2021 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations which we want to qualify for. Getting a spot there will give us an advantage as our ultimate goal is to qualify for the 2021 FIFA U-17 men’s World Cup, and we can only achieve that by giving these young players the experience to grow from this year’s tournament, so that they can get used to this level of competition, come next year’s U-17 Afcon qualifiers,” Khumalo said.
In the tournament Amajimbos are in Group A with hosts Malawi, Zambia and Eswatini. The top two teams will proceed to the semi-finals of the competition.