SOUTH AFRICA CHANGES PLANS FOR RUN-UP MATCHES AHEAD OF FIFA UNDER-20 WORLD CUP IN KOREA

SWOLLE, NETHERLANDS, The South African Under-20 football team has had to alter their preparation plans for the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup to be held from May 20 to June 11 in the Republic of Korea as they are forced to look for new match opposition to play during their training camp in Europe.

Amajita were initially scheduled to face Feyenoord FC, Ajax Amsterdam FC and PEC Zwolle in practice matches but instead they found themselves travelling to Bochum, Germany, where they played against local side VFL Bochum in a makeshift plan for the weekend. The South Africans lost 1-0 in Saturday's game.

Amajita had set up base at the KNVB Campus in Zeist in the Netherlands, but have now moved to the city of Zwolle for the remaining two practice matches. They faced a select side from Amsterdam on Monday, before taking on PEC Zwolle on Tuesday.

Coach Thabo Senong maintains that despite the setbacks, the trip has been worthwhile. These things happen. I am confident the objective will be achieved. We will play three matches in a space of six days and that's the important part. We came here to test our players and I believe that is what we will get, said Senong.

We are happy they boys will get some game time, even though it's not against the sides we had earmarked initially. It is just unfortunate that things happened this way, but we can't look back now and cry over spilt milk. We still have two matches to play and for that we are satisfied.

We have 26 players in camp and we would like to see all of them getting a run, so we can select our final 21-man squad for the World Cup, with a clear mind.

On the clash against VFL Bochum, Senong says he was pleased with what he saw, despite the defeat. A defensive error from Amajita led to Canouse scoring the solitary goal for the home side.

Yes, we are not happy with the loss, but we are satisfied with the level of intensity the boys displayed, as they gave a good account of themselves. This was a quickly-arranged match and we could not have asked for a better team to play against at this point in time, so we would like to thank VFL Bochum for acceding to our request, added Senong.

The technical team is impressed with some of the things we saw in the game; the players are growing mentally and they are becoming stronger physically, and that is very pleasing. We did most of the things right on the field, but it's the same story � we create a lot of chances and don't convert them.

"I counted at least four great scoring opportunities in the first half and another five in the second stanza, where we could have sealed the match. We still need to work on the decision-making of the players, because it could be the difference between winning and losing a match.

The squad returns to South Africa on Thursday.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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