Johannesburg - National Under-20 caretaker coach David Notoane says his charges are determined to do well in the upcoming Commonwealth tournament in Russia.
The national Under-20 team will participate in the 23rd annual Commonwealth of Independent States Cup, which will be staged in the city of Saint Petersburg.
Prior to the tournament, Amajita will travel to Qatar on Wednesday where they will take on a Qatar Select team, in a friendly encounter, on Saturday in Doha before flying to Russia for their nine day campaign.
Notoane believes that the Commonwealth competition will also serve as a preparation for the 2015 African Youth Championship (AYC) scheduled for March in Senegal.
The 45-year-old mentor also hinted that the Amajita are ready for the fight as they have set their eyes on the 2015 FIFA World Championships in New Zealand. Their golden ticket to the global spectacle would be sealed if the side reaches the semi-finals of the continental showpiece.
“It will be a 12-team tournament in Russia split into three groups and we are hoping to do well,” Notoane told Sport24 in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
“In any tournament, you always want to do well as a team.
“So we want to go all out in this competition and also win the African Youth Championship in Senegal.
“And we need a good preparation for that and to do that we’ll play friendly games against the top European teams.
“We are going to Senegal with the hope of securing a place in the FIFA World Championship in New Zealand in May.
“To do that we must reach the semi-finals of the African Youth Championships.
“The boys are fully aware of that and they are hungry for it.
“Our vision is to always qualify for those tournaments.”
Heading to the Commonwealth games, Notoane also confirmed that 90% of his players are in camp with the major blow being an injury to striker Fagrie Lakay due to an injury.
Bloemfontein Celtic striker Dumisani Zuma is also doubtful to travel with the team as he is still struggling to secure a VISA.
“Preparations are going well at the moment and we have overcome almost all challenges.”
“This was not easy at all as some players battled with their VISA’s.
“Dumisani Zuma of Celtic is yet to be cleared to travel with us as he is still being assessed by the medical team and he is also still trying to sort out his passport issues.
“Another blow is that Fagrie Lakay will miss the trip due to an injury.
“But otherwise, from all called-up players, 90% of them are already with us in camp.”