South African Under-17 men’s national team Amajimbos came from behind to salvage a draw against Malawi in their opening encounter of the 2020 Cosafa Men’s Under-17 zonal qualifiers on Sunday.
The tournament is currently being staged in Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth and had to undergo a restart process as a four-team tournament played on a round-robin basis, with the top two teams advancing to a final on November 29.
This is after four teams were disqualified from the tournament following alleged age cheating.
Amajimbos created plenty of scoring opportunities but could not capitalize and were made to pay. Malawi’s Samson Zakeyu duly punished the South African backline on the 36th minute as he put Malawi in the lead and the hosts found themselves trailing going to half-time break.
Mduduzi Shabalala however, levelled matters for Amajimbos on the 46th minute of the second half but another defensive error by Amajimbos allowed Stevie Banda to put Malawi into the lead once again on the 65th minute to make 2-1.
South Africa pressed on for an equalizer and it finally came on the 87th minute through Thabang Mahlangu to keep the group wide open.
Amajimbos coach Vela Khumalo was pleased with the results but not impressed with the number of clear cut chances missed.
“We created a lot of chances. I don’t want to blame the boys but we need to do more in terms of converting those chances. I expected three points but we will take the point and go home,’’ said Khumalo.
Amajimbos will face Angola in their second group game on Tuesday, 24 November. Kick-off is at 12.30pm and is live on the Cosafa TV.