The South Africa men’s U20 national team, the Amajita, made history in Russia when they beat Finland with 2-1 in the final of the Commonwealth Cup at the weekend.
Goals by captain Motjeka Madisha and inspirational Pule Maraisane gave Amajita a confident win going to the CAF African Youth tournament in Senegal.
There was little to separate the two teams in the opening minutes but South Africa looked more comfortable on the ball against their taller opponents.
In the 10th minute, a well-flighted corner kick by South Africa was coolly collected by Finnish goalkeeper Saku Eriksson.
Amajita took the lead in the 15th minute through Madisha after a period of sustained pressure. He rose above the Finland defence to head the ball into the back of the net from a corner kick.
Finland tried to reply a few minutes later but Siphelele Luthuli produced a terrific tackle to deny Kimmo Hovi a certain goal.
South Africa continued to create chances but it was Finland who scored in the 37th minute when Eero Tamminen made it 1-1.
South Africa looked fired up in the second half, but it was the Finnish who got two quick corner kicks but Madisha cleared on both occasions.
The South African technical team brought in Haashim Domingo for Keamogetswe Boikanyo in a bid to up the tempo.
The move paid dividends when Pule Maraisane put South African ahead in the 77th minute.
Finland thought they had equalised in the 88th minute but the referee ruled it out as it was taken from an indirect free kick.