Johannesburg - South Africa got off to a flying start at the COSAFA U20 Youth
Championships in Botswana with a dominant 4-0 win over Mauritius in
Group C on Friday afternoon.
The margin of victory could even have been a lot bigger had South
Africa been more clinical in front of goal, but the result will still be
pleasing as it gives them an early lead in the group.
South Africa had struggled at U20 level last year but the performance
of the current crop promises a bright future. Mauritius should have gone
behind just three minutes in when Jerry Mxabo received the ball inside
the area but he fired just wide.
The opening goal would arrive seven minutes later through Snethemba
Ngidi who saw his shot from outside the area beat the goalkeeper at the
Cebo Meyiwa went close moments later but his shot came off the woodwork before Letsie Koapeng hit the side netting.
South Africa were putting their opponents under immense pressure and it
led to a number of sloppy passes at the back by Mauritius.
The pressure told when Letsie Koapeng was brought down in the area
after Mauritius had gifted the ball to him and Mxabo stepped up to smash
the ball in off the goalkeeper from the spot.
Mxabo could have easily had a hat-trick in the first period but he
fluffed another decent effort wide from close-range after controlling
the ball brilliantly.
Things continued along the same lines after the break and South Africa
would put the game to bed in the 66th minute when Mxabo tucked the ball
into the bottom corner following a dangerous cross into the area.
Thabani Mthembu then wrapped up the result with 14 minutes to go when
he attacked a cross to the near post and flicked it past the goalkeeper
Mauritius tested the goalkeeper for the first time late in the game but
it was a simple save as South Africa claimed a comfortable three