Mindful of the underdog tag that they’ll be wearing in their Fifa Under-20 World Cup campaign in Poland, Amajita’s experienced campaigner Kobomelo Kodisang has urged his team-mates to be confident that they can pull off the improbable at the global showpiece.
In 2017 the South Africans finished bottom of Group D after losses to Japan and Uruguay, while they could only savage a draw with Italy.
Back for their second successive appearance in the Cup, Amajita are in Group F alongside South Korea, Portugal and Argentina, the latter the most successful team in the competition with six wins in 14 appearances.
Amajita meet the South Americans in the opening round this evening (8.30pm SA time kick-off) at Tychy Stadium.
And a wiser and more mature Kodisang, who was part of the disappointing run in South Korea in 2017, will know that this time they have to churn out the goods from the outset if they are to make an impression.
“We have to be confident. It’s not like the games will be easy. Each and every one will be hard but we have to take it each game at a time. We have to approach all the games with one mentality and with the belief that we can compete. If we are confident enough, I think we can match the other teams and get some good results,” he said.
If anything is to go by from Amajita’s misfortunes in the previous edition of this Under-20 World Cup, then coach Thabo Senong will need all the experience he can muster in Poland.
And that’s why Kodisang, who’s now in his third World Cup campaign having also been with the Under-17s, will need to come to the fore.
“There are a lot of talented players that were left behind after they didn’t make the 21-man final squad, but I am really pleased that I’m in my third World Cup,” Kodisang said.
“It’s quite an honour to represent my country, and I’d like to make use of the opportunity and make sure that I perform to the best of my ability and make everyone proud, and that includes myself.”
Growing up in the Rustenburg area in North West, Kodisang, like most of the kids at the time, played football for fun. But enter into his life the now defunct Platinum Stars Youth Academy, and 15-year-old Kodisang realised that he had the world at his feet. He went on to shine for Dikwena before being snatched up by Bidvest Wits as a 17-year-old.
Part and parcel of his ambition as a footballer was to be able to ply his trade abroad. Wits were sympathetic to his aspirations and he is currently on a season loan deal at Portuguese second-tier side A.D Sanjoanense, where he’s played 24 matches and scored four goals.
“It’s really cool working with these great players (in the national U20 team) because everyone is welcoming. And there’s no one player bigger than the other – we are all equal,” Kodisang explained.