Sport 28.7.2016 01:41 pm

Strengthen country’s football grassroots – Senong

Photo: Supplied

Photo: Supplied

The national Under-20 coach insists that SA football needs to strengthen the grassroots if the country is to be counted among the best.

“It is critical that as country we take our development very seriously and improve players so that we can match with the best in the continent and possibly they best in the world,” said coach Thabo Senong.

Senong, who is in Brazil with the Under-23 national side for the Rio Olympic Games, impressively guided Amajita to the Africa Cup of Nations Under-20 tournament, taking place in Zambia from February 26 next year.

Other nations that have booked their ticket along with Amajita and host nation Zambia are Cameroon, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Egypt, and Sudan. The well-spoken mentor says he is ready to face any opponents in the continent showpiece.

“I would not really choose any team because to be honest, whether you face Zambia or Mali, all these teams are going to be tough. Most of the Northern African nations are getting friendly games with European countries, so it is not easy.

“If we prepare very well, I believe we should be ready to face any opposition. It is all about preparation from our side and of course player availability from clubs, and I believe that we can be able build a solid side,” he said.

Ethekwini municipality is hosting their annual Ethekwini Under-19 International Football Tournament between July 28 and August 6 – a tournament that Senong hopes his players will use to prepare.

“Our boys will get an opportunity to compete against clubs like Glasgow Rangers from Scotland, Fluminense FC from Brazil and TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo, so that is one tournament that will give us preparation.

“Later in December, the North West province will be hosting the Cosafa Under-20 tournament which we are still defending …Mr (Shakes) Mashaba won it in 2013 in Lesotho, so we need to be there and be part of that tournament and prepare – I should hope that the team should be ready for the tournament in March next year.”

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