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Senong banks on inexperienced team to deliver


The highly-rated Senong has faith in his current squad and is optimistic of a positive outcome in Beira City.

Thabo Senong. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

South Africa’s national Under-20 coach Thabo Senong has lamented the lack of time he has had to prepare his side ahead of their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match away to Mozambique tomorrow.

Amajita’s preliminary squad was announced last Sunday, and they only started with full training the following day, building up to the encounter at Campo de Ferroviaro da Beira in Beira City; with kick-off at 3pm. The four-day preparations were based on the fact that most players were busy with domestic football.

Hence, Senong says that they had to resort to group training instead of looking at individuals’ abilities.

“We don’t have time (to prepare),’’ Senong said. “We are orientating a lot of group and team tactics, rather than individually. Should we get enough camps to work on these players, then we can think of individual tactics and attention. But for now, our focus is to function as a team when we defend, in transition and when we attack.”

Senong compared his previous squads to the one he has now, and said: “This group is still in their early phase of integration. We are really working hard to make them one. At the moment, they are still individuals. But once we get them into a team, maybe they can be able to write their own story.”

After the Young Black Mambas hammered Seychelles 6-0 at home three weeks ago, they’ve not taken their foot off the pedal but instead continued to prepare for Amajita through friendly matches. On the other hand, the South Africans held their last day in their training camp on April 24. From that two-week camp they had, there were players who impressed Amajita’s technical team and were deemed front runners for tomorrow’s crucial encounter but were unfortunately not released by their clubs due to various reasons.

Despite such obstacles, the highly-rated Senong has faith in his current squad and is optimistic of a positive outcome in Beira City.

“We have a tough match ahead of us, and Mozambique is a good team,” he said.

“But we have no doubt that we’ve recruited a quality team that can try and do the job. However, we are worried about our mentality because most of our players don’t have the experience.

“ We are working hard to integrate them with the experience of the seniors we hope to fast-track important team elements, go there and steal a good result that can give us a chance in the second leg.”

Amajita will be hoping to do the job tomorrow, so as to get an advantage when they host the Mozambicans in the return-leg on May 20 at a venue still to be announced.