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Africa U17 Cup of Nations Qualification

Mamelodi Sundowns-bound striker dazzles as Amajimbos secure 2023 U17 Afcon spot after Malawi win

9:04 am AEDT 10/12/22
Siyabonga Mabena, Amajimbos, December 2022
South Africa booked their spot in the 2023 Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations finals after thumping Malawi 5-1 on Friday night.
  • South Africa proved too strong for 10-man Malawi
  • Amajimbos and Zambia will represent Cosafa in the Afcon finals
  • Hat-trick hero Mabena has remarkably scored nine goals in three games

WHAT HAPPENED? Amajimbos produced a dominant performance against the Young Flames in the 2022 Cosafa Under-17 Championships semi-final match at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Therefore, South Africa booked their place in the final and most importantly have qualified for the 2023 U17 Afcon finals which will be hosted by Algeria.

Goals from Thato Sibiya, Dhakier Lee and Siyabonga Mabena (hat-trick) earned coach Duncan Crowie's side a well-deserved win, while Webster Mzunda grabbed Malawi's consolation goal.

The Flames played the last seven minutes of the match with 10 players after goalkeeper Julius Banda was sent off and he will miss Sunday's third-place play-off match between Malawi and Botswana.

ALL EYES ON: Mabena, the Mamelodi Sundowns-bound striker, made his return to the team after being rested against Zambia in the final Group B match on Wednesday.

The 15-year-old looked hungry for goals against Malawi and grabbed his second hat-trick of the tournament to inspire his nation to a big win on the night.

Mabena, who will join Sundowns from Safa School of Excellence next month, also consolidated his spot at the top of the tournament's scoring charts with nine goals from three matches.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: South Africa will be making their return to the U17 Afcon finals after missing out on the last two editions in 2017 and 2019.

Amajimbos also became the second team to qualify for the continental tournament after Zambia as Southern Africa's two representatives. The Junior Chipolopolo defeated Botswana 4-2 in the other semi-final match on Friday evening and they will now face South Africa in the final.

The top four teams of the Afcon finals will qualify for the 2023 Fifa U17 World Cup in Peru as the African representatives.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR SOUTH AFRICA?: Crowie's side will now go head to head with Zambia in the Cosafa U17 Championships final.

Amajimbos will be determined to avenge their defeat to the Junior Chipolopolo in the group stage.