Cameroon……. 1 ( Mbu 14’)
South Africa….. 3 (Singh 16, 26, 57)
27 February 2017 – South Africa beat Cameroon 3-1 in their opening match of the 2017 CAF U20 African Cup of Nations in Ndola, Zambia in a bruising encounter that kept the spectators on the edge of their seats throughout the 90 minutes.
And the hero of this inspiring win by Thabo Senong’s side was none other than rising star of South African football, Luther Singh.
The talented striker scored two goals in the first half, a rasping free kick and completed his double with a penalty on the 26th minute. He then rounded off an amazing evening with a solo breakaway goal on the 57th minute to announce his arrival on the big stage.
With this display, Singh is likely to be on the radar of some big clubs overseas and a call up to the Bafana Bafana team might be a question of time.
And yet it was Cameroon who set the ball rolling on the 14th minute when an easy header from Eric Mbu gave the Central Africans the lead after Amajita defence had hesitated to clear the ball from the danger zone.
But that was the setback that galvanized Amajita into action as they go the equalizer a minute later.
South Africa won a free kick on the edge of the box and Singh fired home an unstoppable free kick that hit the roof of the net in the 16th minute. Ten minutes later, the hard running Sibongakonke Mbatha was brought down in the box and referee Nkurunziza did not hesitate to point to the penalty spot. Up stepped Singh to fire the ball into the net and put Amajita in the lead as they went into halftime leading 2-1.
In the second half Amajita continued to put pressure on the Central Africans and constantly beating them for pace and fancy footwork.
Singh earned himself the first hat trick of the tournament when he scored his third goal in the 57th minute of the match.
“We won against a very good team, as Cameroon showed tenacity in the whole 90 minutes of the match. We need to ensure that the players move game by game. We relied highly only on tactical abilities and the players managed to stay focused throughout the match,” said Senong.
How they teams lined up:
Cameroon starting XI: Junior Dande; Duplexe Bangou; Tolo Nouhou; Samuel Gouet; Ketu Jih Kalvin; Victor Sylvestre Ekani; Eric Ayuk Mbu; Olivier Mbaizo; Felix Djoubairou; Preston Tabortetaka Obiarrah; Kevin Olivier Soni
Cameroon substitutions: Karl Junior Kegne; Serge Martin Ngono;Herve William Andiolo; Felix Emmanuel Cedric Ng; Fabrice Gael Ngah; Rodrigue Ele Ebolo; Joss Moudoumbou Didiba; Amido Mohamed Yindui; Beligne Ahamefula Ngeh;Omossola Simon Loti
South African starting XI: Mondli Mpoto (GK); Notha Ngcobo; Thendo Mukumela; Katlego Mohamme; Sandile Mthethwa; Wiseman Meyiwa; Teboho Mokoena (C); Sibongakonke Mbatha; Grant Margeman; Luther Singh; Itumeleng Shopane
South African substitutions: Sanele Tshabalala; Khulekani Khubeka; Siyabonga Ngezana; Aghmat Ceres; Sipho Mbule; Kobamelo Kodisang; Liam Jordan; Khanyisa Mayo
Referee: Thierry Nkurunziza (Burundi)
1st Assistant: Sidiki Sidibe (Guinea)
2nd Assistant: Moriba Diakite (Mali)
Match Commissioner: Patrice Edouard Ngaissona