By Moorosi Tsiane
MASERU — Scooping the honours of the Council of South African Football Association (Cosafa) Under-20 championships will be a way to recompense South Africans for the tragic loss of the former president Nelson Mandela and boxing guru, Jacob “Baby Jake” Matlala, said national Under-20 coach, Ephraim Mashaba.
Matlala’s death came two days after Mandela’s death last Thursday, who was a boxer in his younger days.
Amajita, as the South African Under-20 side are affectionately known, qualified for the semi finals set for today after playing to a goalless draw with Namibia in the final tie of the group stages on Tuesday.
The Mashaba coached side finished the group stages of the competition with seven points following their 3-0 victory over Seychelles and a hard-fought 1-0 win over defending champions Zambia.
Mashaba told the Lesotho Times they ought to return home with the trophy after their country’s sports fraternity experienced a death-ridden week.
“The South Africans are in shock now. We are mourning the loss of two icons and we must win this tournament at least to give our people something to smile about,” Mashaba said.
He said judging by the performance displayed by his team in the past three matches he is confident they have more chances of winning the cup for the fifth time.
“My team have been impressive. If they continue showing courage and eagerness there is no doubt that we will win this competition,”
He however, said they still have to treat each team with respect because it won’t be a walk in the park to win the remaining games.
South Africa play Zimbabwe in the semi finals at Setsoto Stadium today.
“Our task ahead is very difficult because these are knock-out matches. We will have to be more disciplined and take each game as it comes,” Mashaba said.