South Africa/Namibia: South Africa Hold Young Warriors

The Young Warriors and South Africa's Amajita played out to an entertaining goalless stalemate in their first leg under-20 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday.

In an evenly contested match in front of a sparse crowd inside the Sam Nujoma Stadium, the hosts enjoyed the better start as they pressurised the visitors defence but could not fashion clearcut chances.

Pre-match favourites South Africa eventually grew into the match, abandoning their cautious approach as they began knocking the ball around confidently without causing much trouble for the well-drilled Young Warriors.

In fact Namibia had the better chances to score in the opening half, as first winger Tevin McCartney Naweseb's crisply-hit shot from about 30m forced Amajita keeper Mondli Mpoto into a smart save down to his right and then defender Kennedy Eib also had his glancing header from a corner kick saved by the agile South African goal-minder.

The visitors came out firing in the second half, as tricky substitute Sbongakonke Mbatha injected pace and urgency into their forward line.

Nontheless, Namibia held firm as they weathered a sustained period of pressure during which they restricted South Africa to long range efforts that flew either harmlessly wide of goal or were blocked by the colossal defensive quartet of left-back Giovanni Tani tani, centre-backs Eib and Baloyi Tsandib as well as team captain Pandeni Kandjambanga at right-back.

A Namibian counter-attack resulted in Naweseb escaping his marker only to head the ball into the ground and over the bar.

The tempo was relentless and soon after, South Africa almost broke the deadlock in fortuitous circumstances when an under-pressure Tsandib sliced his attempted clearance onto the crossbar.

/Eib got the next chance for Namibia, as he rose highest to head narrowly over from a floated corner kick.

More half-chances came and went but neither side was able to find the elusive goal.

"All in all not conceding for me is an important thing. We'll just have to make sure that in the return match we try to produce something," said a content Namibia coach Gerald Gunther.

"The second leg will be hard but we're not going to hang back. We need to stick our game plan, we need to go out there and work on what we're good at. "

His counterpart Thabo Senong said: "Look, it was a very tough match. I'm proud of our boys. We didn't want to concede but we were looking for that away goal that we couldn't get. But we'll go back to the drawing board and work on our finishing and creating more chances. Well done to Namibia. You can see that they prepared well for this match."

Source: The Namibian