The South African u20 Men’s National Team, Amajita, begins the defence of their COSAFA u20 Cup title today (Wednesday, 7 December) against neighbours Lesotho at the Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg, North West. Kickoff is at 19h30. Head coach of the Burger King-sponsored Amajita, Thabo Senong, says the first match is always important. “Our preparations have gone very well, and the boys have managed to adapt quickly to the conditions of the area and the mood in camp is very high, which augurs well for the tournament ahead. All the boys are looking forward to the competion,” said Senong. “We will not underestimate Lesotho because they come here with the same mission we have – that of winning the tournament. The first match becomes very important as it sets the tone for the rest of the competition. The challenge we saw from the last match we played against Kenya was converting the chances we create, so if we can do that against Lesotho then we are confident we will come out with a victory.” The South Africans are hosting the tournament. They are also the defending champions, but Senong says this does not put them under any pressure. “Remember we are using this event as preparations for the CAF u20 Africa Cup of Nations tournament which will be staged in Zambia next year, so we are not feeling any pressure – this is because pressure comes with anxiety, and that leads to underperformance. So it is important that they go out there and just enjoy themselves with the purpose of winning,” added Senong. “Yes, the aim is to successfully defend our title as it will give the boys the much-needed confidence going to Zambia.” Against Lesotho, Amajita will not have the services of defender Shane Saralina who is nursing an ankle injury. “It doesn’t look serious for now, but he is definitely out of the Lesotho clash. The medical team is monitoring him to see how soon he can recover. Hopefully he will be available for our next match,” concluded the u20 mentor.