Zim coach tips South Africa for Under-23 Afcon

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Tadious Manyepo

Harare - After seeing his charges play second fiddle in the two-legged final round Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at the hands of South Africa, Zimbabwe’s Young Warriors coach Tonderai Ndiraya believes, Amajita have what it takes to win the title in Egypt.

The Under-23 eight-team Afcon tournament takes place in November.

South Africa advanced to the contest for the third time following a massive 5-0 aggregate win over Zimbabwe.

Though they could not find a way past the Zimbabweans in the second leg played in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city on Tuesday, South Africa had already made the contest theirs to lose after a 5-0 win at Orlando Stadium in the reverse fixture.

Zimbabwe tried in vain to come back into it but it was too late given the pressure that comes with losing the first leg by that huge margin.

And Ndiraya couldn’t help but shower praise on the South Africans and he even tipped them to win the continental title in Egypt.

“Look, as Zimbabwe we played well in the second leg of the tie but there was nothing much we could do after falling by that a big margin in the reverse encounter. We should have done better than what we did had we been clinical in front of goal and solid in defence.

“But, there is no doubting the fact that South Africa are a good team. They are perfect in every aspect of the game and I can safely tip them to win the Africa Cup of Nations,” said Ndiraya.

“Look, the continental contest is tough. There are the hosts, the likes of Cameroon, Nigeria, Mali and Ivory Coast but I think South Africa also has what it takes to wrestle the title.

“If they can replicate the form they are in and try to polish up some of those areas, they are home and dry.”

While South Africa beat Zimbabwe to book the ticket to Egypt, Zambia made sure the SADC region has two representatives at the meet.

Zambia are appearing at this tournament for the second time, having made the cut for the 2015 edition.

Zambia were supposed to host this year’s edition of the Afcon Under-23 tournament but they withdrew before Egypt stepped in.

Three top finishers at the Afcon in Egypt will qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan next year.

Qualified teams

Egypt (hosts)

South Africa

Zambia

Cameroon

Nigeria

Mali

Ivory Coast  

Ghana

 

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