Monday Feb 23, 2015. 11:37
South African Under 17 Men’s national team captain Nelson Maluleke’s brace saw them making history by qualifying for the FIFA U/17 World Cup after knocking out Cameroon on Sunday night at Niger.
South Africa came to this match with no choice but to win and also hope that the Group A match finishes with a winner.
Knowing that they can only control their fate they went all out and made a mark for themselves and wrote their own history by becoming the first of their generation to qualify for this World Cup.
South Africa made their intent known and as early as the second minute, took the lead. They won a set-piece on the edge of the box and from a goalmouth melee, the Cameroonians scored an own goal.
Amajimbos never looked back from this advantage piling lots of pressure and by half-time, were 2-0 to the good.
In form striker Sibongakonke Mbatha was brought down inside the box to earn a penalty at the stroke of half-time and inspirational captain Nelson Maluleke coolly slotted the spot kick to take the lead.
Cameroon came into the second half looking to salvage the situation and made a double substitution that paid off as Christian Bayemi managed to sneak one goal past the South Africans to reduce the deficit by half.
In the 56th minute Luvuyo Mkatshana supplied a wonderful cross to Nelson Maluleke who slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-1 and restore the 2-goal advantage.
The South Africans will now face Nigeria in the semi finals of the prestigious African tournament of Wednesday 25 February 2014, at the General Seyni Kountche Stadium in Niamey, Niger. Kick-off is scheduled for 16:00 local time.
“We are grateful to God firstly for always being with us, we believe that the entire country is happy.
“I like to thank the South African Football Association (SAFA) and the Technical team for all their hard work. Cameroon came with a plan but we had prepared for them very well,” said an elated Amajimbos coach Molefi Ntseki.
South African u17 starting line-up: Mondli Mpoto; Katlego Mohamme; Thendo Mukumela; Revve Frosler; Notha Ngcobo; Athenkosi Dlala; Sibongakonke Mbatha; Nelson Maluleke(c); Wiseman Meyiwa; Luvuyo Mkatshana; Khanyisa Mayo.