South Africa: Senong Becomes First SA Coach to Qualify for Two Consecutive WCs

South Africa's National Under-20 (Amajita) head coach Thabo Senong does not take personal pride in becoming the first South African coach to have qualify a national side to back-to-back FIFA World Cup tournaments.

As a matter of fact, it is a milestone in which he believes was achieved by a collective rather than an individual.

Amajita qualified for their second FIFA U-20 World Cup in a row after finishing within the top four of this year's CAF U20 Africa cup of Nations, which took place in Niger last month (February).

They also finished third, and thus securing their first ever bronze medal in their history of competing in the continental showpiece.

In both the 2017 and 2019 U20 Africa Cup of Nations' road to World Cup qualifications, Senong worked with Helman Mkhalele, who still serves as his assistant coach.

Senong also stated that he would not have achieved this important milestone without the unwavering support of his technical staff and the Association in both the 2017 and 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup qualification campaigns.

The upcoming 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup will take place in Poland from 23 May - 15 June.

Amajita are in Group F; and will compete with the likes of Argentina, Korea Republic and Portugal in pursuit of reaching the knockout stages of the tournament.

"I am truly honored and humbled at the same time to have led the national team to their second FIFA U-20 World Cup in a row," Senong said.

"None of this would not have been possible if it was not for the tremendous support I have received from my technical staff. The last three years have been really good for Amajita and we are looking forward to the upcoming FIFA U-20 Word Cup tournament set place in Poland in the coming three months."

Amajita will play Ukraine on 18 April 2019 in a friendly leading to the international football event. Senong stated that having more competitive friendlies such as this one leading up to this international tournament, will play a key role in getting his charges ready for the battle that is up ahead.

"We are drawn in a very good group and we are looking forward to the upcoming battle," Senong said.

"We already have video footage of our Group F opponents and we will do everything in our power to prepare the team for our group fixtures. Our intention is to advance from the group and progress into the knockout stages of the tournament"

COACHES WHO QUALIFIED SAFA NATIONAL TEAMS TO FIFA WORLD CUP TOURNAMENTS

MENS NATIONAL TEAMS

South Africa's National Under-20 (Amajita)

1997 World Youth Championship, Malaysia

Coach: Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba

Qualification: Amajita qualified for their first ever FIFA World Youth Championship after reaching the top four of the African Youth Championship which took place in Morocco. They also finished as runners up in the tournament after suffering a 1-0 defeat the final. Their best record finish in this continental football tournament to date.

2009 FIFA U20 World Cup, Egypt

Coach: Serame Letsoaka

Qualification: Amajita qualified for the FIFA World Youth Championship after finishing fourth in the African Youth Championship, which took place in Rwanda back in 2009. To date, the 2009 class still holds the best record as SAFA's national Under-20 side, in a FIFA U-20 World Cup, to finish in the last 16 of the global football showpiece.

2017 FIFA U20 World Cup, South Korea

Coach: Thabo Senong

Qualification: Amajita qualified for the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup tournament after finishing fourth in the CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations, which took place in Zambia. They missed out on a third-place finish after losing 2-1 to Guinea at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.

2019 FIFA U20 World Cup, Poland

Coach: Thabo Senong

Qualification: Amajita qualified for their second FIFA U-20 World Cup in a row after finishing in the top four of the CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations, which took place Niger in the month of February. They also secured their first ever bronze medal in the continental football competition after beating Nigeria 5-3 on penalties, following a 0-0 draw after fulltime.

South Africa's National Under-17 (Amajimbos)

2015 FIFA U17 World Cup, Chile

Coach: Molefi Ntseki

Qualification: Amajimbos qualified for their first ever FIFA U17 World Cup tournament in the 2015 Africa U17 Cup of Nations, after reaching the final four of the tournament. They also finished as runners-up, their best finish in their history of competing on the continental stage, after losing 2-0 to Mali in the final at the Seyni Kounché Stadium in Niamey, Niger.

MENS NATIONAL TEAMS

Bafana Bafana

1998 FIFA World Cup (CAF) qualifiers, France

Coach: Clive Barker

Qualification: finished top of Group 3 with four wins, one draw, one defeat and 13 points

2002 FIFA World Cup (CAF) qualifiers, Korea Japan

Coach: Carlos Queiroz

Qualification: Finished top of Group A with five wins, one draw, no defeat and 16 points

2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa (Automatic qualification)

South Africa makes history by becoming the first African country to successfully host the senior men's global football showpiece.

Coach: Carlos Alberto Parreira

WOMENS NATIONAL TEAMS

Banyana Banyana

2018 Women's Africa Cup of Nations (2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France edition qualifiers)

Coach: Desiree Ellis

Qualification: Banyana Banyana qualified for their first ever FIFA Women's World Cup tournament by finishing in the top three of the Women's AFCON which took place in Ghana from 17 November - 1 December 2018. They lost 4-3 on penalties to Nigeria in the final, following a 0-0 draw.

South Africa's Women Under-20 team (Basetsana)

Yet to qualify.

South Africa's Women Under-17 team (Bantwana)

2010 FIFA U17 Women's World Cup, Trinidad and Tobago

Coach: Solomon Luvhengo

Qualification: Bantwana qualified for their first FIFA U17 Women's World Cup after beating Tunisia 2-1 on aggregate in the CAF 2010 FIFA U17 Women's World Cup Play-off final round

2018 FIFA U17 Women's World Cup, Uruguay

Coach: Simphiwe Dludlu

Qualification: Bantwana beat Morocco 6-1 on aggregate in their second and final round of the CAF 2018 FIFA U17 Women's World Cup qualifiers to book their place in the Uruguay World Cup edition.

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