Pirates beat SA u20 in practice match

South African u20 Men’s National Team lost 1-0 to the Orlando Pirates senior team in a practice match on Sunday, 23 April 2017.

The clash, which is part of preparations for the upcoming 2017 FIFA u20 World Cup, took place at Rand Stadium in Johannesburg.

Amajita held their own in the match, and gave Pirates a run for their money, but were unfortunate to go down by the solitary goal.

South Africa head coach Thabo Senong was impressed with his charges but admits there is still a lot of work to be done to get the team ready for the world soccer showpiece next month.

“Experience will always out play the youth, but these are the games we need to test our strengths and weaknesses ahead of the World Cup tournament. I am very happy certain aspects of our game though – firstly, the players did not have any problems with the combinations they played as well as with the tempo of the match, which is very pleasing,” said Senong.

“But there are areas that need to be addressed when we hold our tactical video sessions. Some of these will be that we need to ensure that we find a strategy to expand the players’ mentality. We also have to work on decision making and we need to make good use of our ball possession.”

The South Africans have been forced to adjust their travel arrangements to the Netherlands due to logistical challenges. The squad will now depart for Europe on Wednesday, 26 April 2017 instead of the initial date of Tuesday, 25 April 2017.

Amajita will play three practice matches in Amsterdam – vs Feyenoord on Friday, 28 April 2017, vs Ajax Amsterdam on Sunday, 30 April 2017 and, lastly, vs PEC Zwolle on Tuesday, 2 May 2017.

“These are very valuable matches and we would like to thank the three clubs for agreeing to assist us in our preparations. Gratitude must also go to the South African Football Association leadership for allowing us to prepare the team thoroughly,” added Senong.

“We will also be using the three games to select the final 21-man squad that will represent South Africa in South Korea, so these are very crucial matches not only for the players but also for the technical team. When we return from Europe we will know which players are ready for the tournament, because a few days thereafter we will be leaving for the World Cup.”

South Africa has been drawn in Group D of the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup alongside Italy, Uruguay and Japan.

The tournament takes place from 20 May – 11 June 2017.

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