Singh inspires South Africa to victory in U20 AFCON clash

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Mon February 27, 21:02

Luther Singh's hat-trick helped South Africa thrash Cameroon 3-1 in their first 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group B game at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on Monday.

The victory took Amajita to the top of Group B with three points, while Cameroon are rooted at the bottom without a point.

The Young Indomitable Lions dominated the opening stages of the game applying pressure on the Amajita defence, while looking for an early goal.

Mondli Mpoto, the Amajita goalkeeper, produced two magnificent saves to deny Cameroon winger Ketu Jih Kalvin from close range just six minutes into the game.

However, Mpoto was beaten nine minutes later when a beautiful cross found Eric Ayuk Mbu at the back post and he headed home to make it 1-0 to Cameroon.

South Africa then pressed for the equalizing goal and four minutes they were awarded a free-kick after Sibongakonke Mbatha was fouled near the Cameroon box.

Luther Singh then fired the resultant free-kick into the back of the net beating Young Indomitable Lions' towering keeper Junior Dande to make it 1-1 for South Africa.

The momentum was now with Amajita and in the 25th minute, they were awarded a penalty after diminutive midfielder Mbatha was fouled inside the Cameroon box.

Once again Singh made no mistake as he stepped up and fired past Dande with a well-taken effort from the spot-kick to hand South Africa the lead for the first time on the night.

With his side trailing Cameroon coach Cyrian Besong Achu, decided to introduce Cendric Nganle Chenkam for Jih, but Amajita held on to their lead and they were 2-1 up at half-time.

The South African defence were put under pressure after the restart as the Cameroonians looked to level matters, but they were struggling to penetrate the backline.

Amajita extended their lead in the 57th minute when Mbatha's long ball sent Singh through on goal and latter dribbled past Dande, before hitting the back of the net to make it 3-1 to South Africa.

Duplexe Tchamba Bangou, the Cameroon defender, nearly scored an own goal in the 70th minute, but fortunately for him, his header went wide of the target with Dande looking on.

It was end-to-end in the late stages of the game as Ayuk burst into the South Africa box ten minutes later, but Wiseman Meyiwa's did brilliantly to stop the forward from netting his second goal.

Nevertheless, South Africa stood firm at the back in the dying minutes of the game and they emerged 3-1 winners on the night thanks to Singh's hat-trick.

Cameroon (1) (Ayuk 15'
South Africa (3) (Singh 17', 25', 57')

Cameroon: Dande, Tchamba, Nouhou, Gouet, Jih (Chenkam 40', Beligine 84'), Mpindi, Ayuk, Mbaizo, Djoubairou, Tabortetaka, Soni (Moudoumbou 72')

South Africa: Mpoto, Mukumela, Ngcobo, Mohamme, Mthethwa, Meyiwa, Margeman (Mbule 85'), Mokoena, Mbatha, Singh (Jordan 90'), Shopane (Kodisang 66')

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