Mkhalele might have done enough to impress SAFA bosses

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Amajita stand-in coach Helman Mkhalele could get the position of being national Under-20 coach after impressing his employers at the 2019 Cosafa U20 Youth Championship in Zambia.

Mkhalele guided a newly-assembled side without the necessary international experience into the tournament’s final.

South Africa failed to defend their title after going down 3-0 to the hosts Zambia, in Lusaka, on Saturday.

The 50-year-old Mkhalele replaced former coach Thabo Senong on an interim basis in June 2019 following Amajita’s first round exit at the FIFA under-20 World Cup in Poland earlier in 2019.

Mkhalele was tasked with putting a new side together as the team prepares for the 2021 Africa U20 Cup of Nations in Mauritania.

The top four teams in that tournament will represent Africa at the 2021 FIFA U20 World Cup in Indonesia.

Mkhalele says his players left a good impression in this year’s tournament.

“I am really proud of them. I would say the final score was not a true reflection of the game based on the number of chances we created. I thought that we should have won the game, if not drawn and yes, you know I’m disappointed with the results, but the future looks bright because we have identified some key players that will form a very strong team of Amajita going forward”.

Despite failing to defend their  Cosafa U20 title, the SAFA President Danny Jordaan says the future of the team is promising.

“I think he has done a good job. He has brought this team together. These are young players, many of them are in their first international, and I think he has done a good job. So, we will listen to him when he comes back. But if you look at the progression of the team they started off very unsure and ended up as an emphatic team that would stand up against Zambia.”

Amajita Captain Lancester Human and teammate Oswin Appollis were nominated for the Player of the Tournament Award. But the award went to Zambian midfielder Patrick Gondwe.

As a reward for being voted the Best Player of the Tournament, Gondwe will be undergoing trials with Spanish club CD Numancia in the next few weeks.

Gondwe says he’s looking forward to this life changing experience. Gondwe’s trip will be made possible by La Liga, who have partnered with Cosafa in 2020.

La Liga representative in South Africa Enrique Suay says they hope that Gondwe makes the grade overseas.

Ambrosini Salvador of Angola walked away with the Golden Boot Award after scoring six goals in the tournament.

Amajita’s star player Oswin Appollis finished the tournament with four goals despite missing one match due to suspension.