Cape Town - Gallant Amajimbos went down 2-0 to Mali in the
2015 CAF African Youth Championship final in Niamey on Sunday night but coach
Molefi Ntseki said he was happy with his charges’ performance despite the
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According to safa.net, it was a high tempo game which saw
the physically bigger Malians using their imposing stature to dictate the pace.
Stand out goalkeeper Mondli Mpoto and defender Reeve Frosler
were in the thick of action from the word go and respectively came to the
rescue of the South Africans as the West Africans sought for an early goal.
It was a physical first half with Amajimbos handling aerial
balls well but Mali keeping up the pressure and despite going to half time
goalless, both teams created gilt-edged chances.
After some constant pressure at the start of the second
half, the Malians duly took the lead through industrious striker Siaka Bagayoko
in the 65th minute following some indecisive marking at the corner.
Mpoto had made a number of saves to keep South Africa in the
game, with one in particularly impressive, while the Malians also missed
several chances with shots that went wide.
It was game over in the 78th minute when Aly Malle doubled
Mali's lead with 12 minutes remaining, getting just reward for another
sustained period of pressure to inflict the killer blow with a curling that
shot that gave Mpoto no chance.
The Malians showed superior physical dominance and endurance
to get the second goal towards the end of the match as Amajimbos ran out of
South Africa had a Khanyiso Mayo goal ruled out for offside
in the 88th minute following good work by the lively Sibongakonke Mbatha and
never gave up after a spirited performance, as they kept on pushing to the end.
Amajimbos end as runners-up, while Guinea claimed third
place earlier on Sunday after beating Nigeria 3-1 in the third-place playoff.
“On another day, the result could have been different. They
bullied us off the ball but we always threatened on counter-attacks. We will
now focus our attention to the World Cup in Chile. I am proud of the boys,” he
Amajimbos XI: Mpoto, Ngcobo, Frosler, Mohamme,
Mukumela, Dlala, Meyiwa, Maluleke (c), Mbatha, Mkatshana, Mayo.
Mali XI: Traore, Dante, Bagayoko, Sangare, I.
Traore, Mamadou Fofana, Koita, Malle. Maiga, B. Traore.