South African Football Association’s technical director Neil Tovey was disappointed but still hoping for a miracle after Amajita’s 2-0 loss to Italy here today.
The man who led Bafana Bafana to their famous Afcon victory in 1996 said the South African Under-20’s loss – their second in as many games – was a result of a coterie of combinations.
“The penalty took the wind out of our sails but Italy had always looked more composed and the most likely ones to score,” he opined.
“We did not have the outlets we needed to give Italy problems. Our running of the ball was poor and there was no cohesion.”
Tovey said things improved a bit after the introduction of Teboho Mokoena.
The SuperSport United midfielder, who arrived on Monday and thus became the last player to join the squad, was introduced by coach Thabo Senong in the second stanza, with the team already two goals down.
“He got us to play,” said Tovey.
“There were two or three scoring chances but we did not create as many and as clear cut as we did in our first game [against Japan].”
The loss meant that Amajita remained in the bottom of Group D, even before the second game between Japan and Uruguay, with no point and having conceded four goals.
The number of goals they had let in and their failure to score at least one could prove to be costly even if they win their last outing against Uruguay on Saturday.
The four goals they have conceded and the sole strike they got against Japan means they are sitting on a minus three goal difference, not a good situation to even make it through as one of the best placed third teams.
The two top teams in their Groups make it to the next round, with the six best placed third teams also making it through.
“In our next game, we have to be positive and be confident that we can still make it through as one of the best third-placed teams,” said Tovey.
“There is still a chance.”