Captain of the South African Men's Under 20 team, Ayabulela Maqgwaka is confident his side will do well in the second round, first leg clash against Ethiopia on Sunday in the 2015 African Youth Championships. The match will take place at the National Stadium in the capital Addis Ababa.
Kickoff is at 16h00 Ethiopian time (15h00 SA time).
"I am predicting a tough encounter but we want to go into the game with an open mind. We know what we want to achieve. We know very little about Ethiopia hence it is important to concentrate on our game. I believe every player called up for their national team is good enough to do the best for the country," said the Ajax Cape Town defender.
Maqgwaka said winning the first game was very critical as it sets the tone for the remainder of the qualifiers.
"The first match is always very important because it will give us the direction; so winning here is very critical. We obviously want to win here so that when we return home we have an advantage. And it will be much easier with our supporters and families on our side," added Maqgwaka.
The defender played a key role in the squad that won the U20 COSAFA CUP tournament last year although some players that played a key role in that win are unavailable for this tie.
"Those new players in the team should take advantage and make their mark. The truth about the national team is that no one has a permanent position and we have to work hard when an opportunity avails itself," added the captain.
The hard tackling defender however, admitted that there was pressure in playing for the national team in the sense that defeat brings disappointment to the whole country.
"This is a crucial match. Doing well here will take us a step closer to qualifying for the Africa Youth Championships and eventually the World Cup, and that is all I am thinking about right now."