FIFA U-20 World Cup record
South Africa made their World Cup debut in the age group in 1997, when they placed third in their group and made an early exit. The Amajita ('The Boys') had to wait 12 years to return to the big stage, though their patience was rewarded with a place in the last 16. They did not fare so well on their third and most recent appearance in the competition, at Korea Republic 2017, finishing bottom in a group also comprising Japan, Uruguay and Italy.
The road to Poland
The 2019 CAF Africa U-20 Cup of Nations saw South Africa achieve their best finish in the competition since 1997, when they reached the final. The Amajita placed second in their group behind Nigeria, a team they faced again in the match for third place. The showdown finished goalless after extra time, with South Africans winning the penalty shootout 5-3.
Thabo Senong has been in the post since February 2017 and took charge of the side at that year’s world finals in Korea Republic. A graduate of the Johan Cruyff Institute in Amsterdam, Senong was previously an assistant coach with the Amajita and also an assistant to senior national team coach Stuart Baxter.
3 – The number of players in South Africa’s Korea Republic 2017 squad who were playing abroad at the time. Two years on, Senong can now choose from a pool of around 35 foreign-based players, most of them playing their trade in Europe’s big leagues. “It augurs well for our football,” he said.