Amajita return to Egypt as Bafana Bafana

Try get yourself a copy of today’s Daily Voice and check out my column called #DiskiBusiness on page 17. It’s out every Wednesday and in today’s issue, where I compare the Class of 2019 and the Class of 2009.

Umjaka – Diski Business

A number of the Amajita’s Class of 2009 that played at the FIFA under-20 World Cup will return to Egypt but this time as Bafana Bafana for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Under the guidance of Serame Letsoaka, the youngsters set milestones at the 2009 edition of the U20 World Cup.

There will obviously be some names missing when Stuart Baxter lead them to the promised land of the Faros, where they are drawn in Group D together with Ivory Coast, Morocco and Namibia.

LET ME TAKE YOU A FEW STEPS BACK

Try get yourself a copy of today’s Daily Voice and check out my column called #DiskiBusiness on page 17. It’s out every Wednesday and in today’s issue, where I compare the Class of 2019 and the Class of 2009.

The Class of 2019 is currently doing duty at the U20 World Cup in Poland and they have struggled, causing much debate on social media back here in South Africa.

When my homegirl Acquila Ntsokotha, a digital data analysis and strategy superstar in the making uses the word “deep dive” when she presents a comprehensive digital stats.

Well that’s what I did in today’s issue, I took a “deep dive” into the South Africa under-20 national team’s performance at the FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland.

The first SA U20 team that took part at the tournament was back in 1997 in Malaysia, when it was called the FIFA World Youth Championship.

That’s around the time the nickname “Amajita” was coined; catchy and was aligned to the long-term journey a team starting out as young Amajita and graduate to become Bafana Bafana.

EXCITING TIMES

That team had exciting talents, many were already hot prospects that were fully fledged first team players or were at least in a first team squad getting a regular run off the bench.

The really interesting part was that the SA football fraternity had faith that these guys would become household names and they did. The likes of David Kannemeyer, Matthew Booth as captain, Stanton Fredericks, Steve Lekoelea, goalkeeper Wayne Roberts and of course Benni McCarthy all went on to became legends in their own right.

That 1997 team coached by Shakes Mashaba did not do well, but that was okay as being there was an achievement for a nation that had only been on the international football scene for five years.

One Benni McCarthy was in the top three – behind France devastating duo Thiery Henry and David Trezeguet – of players tipped to be future stars.

I forget what magazine that feature was on, but voila, McCarthy’s many accolades include still being the only SA player to be top scorer at the Africa Cup of Nations as well as lift the UEFA Champions League title.

Image from Fifa.com “Amajita advance at Honduras’ expense”

FAST FORWARD

Fast forward to 2009, after missing out of qualification in tournaments between 2001 and 2005, a group coached by Serame Letsoaka set a new benchmark.

They won a match, which the ’97 team didn’t do, and that win proved crucial as it helped them qualify for the last 16 which was another milestone for SA football.

They lost to eventual champions Ghana at that tournament in Egypt. There too, many players gave a good account of themselves and many now make up the core of the current Bafana squad that set to return to Egypt this time for AFCON 2019.

How do you rate the Class of 2019? Pick up a copy of today’s Daily Voice and let me know your thoughts.

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