South Africa’s Amajita have qualified for their second FIFA U-20 World Cup following a 1-0 victory over Burundi in their final group game at the Total U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Maradi.
Amajita secured their place in the last four of the biennial championships through Luke Le Roux’s ninth minute penalty after Monyane was brought down in the Burundian box.
The East African came into Friday’s match on the back of a spirited performance against Niger in Niamey where they overturn a two goal deficit to draw 3-3 but they couldn’t break down Thabo Senong’s charges.
Burundi who knew they had to win the match to stand any chance of qualifying started brightly in Maradi where the locals came out in number to cheer the two sides.
Amissi Mohamed provided Burundi a lot pace and trickery going forward with his stylish step overs giving South Africa’s Fezile Gcaba all sorts of problem in trying to defend against him.
Bipfubusa Joslin’s side came close to leveling matters on 14 minutes when Bienvenue Kanakimana beat his marker on the right and thread through a low cross into Cedric Mavugo’s path but the forward who had only the keeper beat hastily fired wide.
The Amajita’s replied with a quick counter attack two minute later when Ngcobo’s diagonal pass found Kodisang on the left channel where the Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder curled in a shot which hit the Burundian post before Siphesihle Mkhize’s strike on the rebound was save by Rukundo.
South Africa keeper Kubheka was called to action ten minutes before the break denying Mabano’s towering header from nestling in with a smart low diving save.
Mohamed Amissi continued to attack the South African defense that was well structured to foil any threats from the Burundians.
South Africa should have increased their lead on the stroke of half time through maestro Ngcobo who exchanged passes with Luke Le Roux outside the area before seeing his volley flying over the goal.
The second half was a chest match where the two sides played to the instructions of the technicians and didn’t want to commit any mistakes.
Amajita with their height advantage were a threat from set plays and defender Gcaba headed towards goal a corner which the keeper saved.
With time running out Burundi committed more men forward and were caught on the break when substitute Promise Mkhuma played Ngcobo through on goal but the excellent midfielder missed the target with a shot across goal.
The win moved South Africa to second place two points behind Nigeria who beat the hosts Niger 1-0 in Niamey to go through to the semifinals.