South Africa’s unsuccessful U17s side will return to Mzansi tomorrow having been knocked out of the U17 World Cup after finishing bottom of Group E.
Molefi Ntseki’s Amajimbos failed to win any of their three group games against Costa Rica, Korea DPR and Russia, losing two and drawing one as their first ever venture into the tournament ended in disappointment.
While the team and their head coach will no doubt be unhappy with the way they crashed out of the tournament, they have to be commended for becoming the first ever South African team to make it to the finals, even if things didn’t go so well in Chile.
Now, as the players return to their respective academies, and to sit their exams, Ntseki will be eager to make sure that they learnt their lessons from the World Cup and push on after once they return.
Speaking after the 2-0 defeat to Russia, Ntseki told FIFA, "We’re very sad because we didn’t expect such negative results. We didn’t get the first objective, which was to qualify to the next round. In this match we had a lot of discipline and organisation but unfortunately we couldn’t score.
“We gave three penalties away during the tournament and we couldn’t improve on this part of our game. Nonetheless, I’m happy for the opportunity that our players had and we’re very proud to represent our country,”
One player who really stood out for Amajimbos was young midfielder, Sibongakonke Mbatha, who performed well in all three games and will no doubt have caught the eye of those watching.
The team will arrive back at OR Tambo at 07h20 on Wednesday morning.