This is the third time Amajita has qualified for the U-20 World Cup – the first time was back in 1997, with Booth, Benni McCarthy, Steve Lekoelea, David Kannemeyer, Daniel Matsau and Junaid Hartley among those representing the national team; and they got knocked out in the group stages.
The second time Amajita played in the U-20 World Cup was in 2009, with future Bafana Bafana internationals Mphahlele, Mokotjo, Serero, Dino Ndlovu, Daylon Claasen, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Andile Jali, George Maluleka and Kermit Erasmus representing Mzansi; and this time around Amajita were knocked out in the last 16 of the tournament.
“We are very fortunate to have players such as Matthew Booth, the legends, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Thulani Serero, the likes of Ramahlwe Mphahlele … to guide as they’ve been there and how does it feel to be in a World Cup, and what is needed and what to expect,” Malepe tells snl24.com/kickoff.
“So for me as a captain, [I] say all we need as players is to be mentally fit, physically fit, of which is what the coaches are busy working with… we look sharper and we know what we must expect in a World Cup.”
Malepe adds that they are ready for the tournament and they are not going to South Korea to add numbers.
“So I think we are ready… we are ready to compete… and not just be in a World Cup… like a feeling, but a feeling of being champions in a World Cup, so Amajita team is ready to compete in South Korea.”
Amajita kick off their campaign against Japan on Sunday, 21 May, at Suwon World Cup Stadium. The second match will be against Italy at the same venue on Wednesday, 24 May, and their last game they’ll be up against Uruguay on Saturday, 27 May, at Incheon Football Stadium.