South Africa sealed their place in the final of 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships in an ill-tempered 1-0 success over North African guest nation Egypt at the Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe‚ Zambia‚ on Thursday.
BidVest Wits’ Luvuyo Mkatshana scored the only goal of the game shortly before halftime‚ with Amajita finishing the match with 10 men as Lehlogonolo Matlou received his marching orders in mysterious circumstances.
He will now miss the final on Saturday against either East African side Uganda or Lesotho‚ who clash in the second semifinal later on Thursday.
Two members of the Egyptian bench were also sent to the stands as their rage at the decisions of Zimbabwean referee Nomore Musundire boiled over.
Amajita were fortunate not to lose Thabane Zuke late in the game as well after he performed a horror tackle that drew a yellow only.
Coach Thabo Senong was dealt a blow in the warm-ups when Orlando Pirates striker Lyle Foster pulled out of the starting line-up through injury to be replaced by Katlego Ntsabaleng.
Amajita dictated the tempo in the first half though and after Kamohelo Sambo had missed a headed chance at the back-post‚ Mkatshana showed great composure to open the score as he collected a cross with an excellent first touch and provided a neat finish.
Sifundo Sibiya should have made it 2-0 when he simply had to side-foot the ball home unopposed‚ but shot straight at the Egyptian keeper.
And he had another great chance early in the second period when a slip in the Egyptian defence again found him one-on-one with Mohamed Sobhy‚ and once more he shot straight at the keeper.
Sibiya picked up the loose ball and his cross to the back-post was headed wide by Ntsabaleng with the goal gaping.
Amajita had to finish the game with 10 men after Matlou was sent off‚ seemingly for a second bookable offence‚ though what he received the second yellow card for is unclear.
South Africa are looking to regain the title they won in 2013 under former coach Shakes Mashaba.
They reached the final on home soil 12 months ago but were beaten 2-1 by Zambia‚ who went on to be crowned African champions months later.
by Nick Said – TimesLIVE