Amajimbos coach happy with tough draw against Colombia

After encountering problems and challenges before departure for their tour of South America, the Under-17 men’s national team has settled down well, and they played to a 2-2 draw against hosts Colombia in their opening match.


The friendly international was played at Francisco Rivera Escobar Stadium in Cali on Monday.


Amajimbos, as the national team is affectionately known, dominated the first-half and went into the break leading after Steven Mendes opened the scoring with a stunning shot from a wide angle in the 33rd minute.


Great combination play

The Safa website states that Colombia made five changes at the start of the second-half in an effort to put pressure on the South Africans, who are under the direction of Vela Khumalo, the youth coach for Kaizer Chiefs.


However, the South Americans fell short as a great combination play from Amajimbos gave Sivuziwe Lonzi, who got his first ever national cap, a goal for the visitors in the 57th minute.


Khumalo wanted to give as many players as possible a chance so that they could make an impression, and he made several changes in the second period.


He started with three substitutions in the 60th minute, as Diego Da Silva, Thandanani Mhlongo, and Mfundo Msimango came on for Selwyn Stevens, Lonzi, and Mendes in that order.


Defensive errors

Later in the game, the coach made three more substitutions, who changed the shape of the match and saw South Africa concede two goals from defensive errors as Colombia managed to get back into the match with goals from Nick Mendez and Edmilson Herazo in the 79th and 90th minutes, respectively.


“We had a very good first-half, and the boys must be proud of themselves. They ticked all the boxes in the tactical plan we had,” said Khumalo.


“They kept possession, scored the goals, and stuck to the philosophy we want to instill in them.


“We made substitutions in the second-half because we wanted to give all the players a run, and unfortunately, that changed the shape of the game.


“We are happy with the boys’ performance and will be looking to put in an even better performance on Wednesday when we play Colombia again.”


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