Hat-trick hero Luther Singh helped South Africa’s Amajita U20 side beat Cameroon 3-1 in their opening match of the 2017 CAF U20 African Cup of Nations in Ndola, Zambia on Monday.
In a bruising encounter that kept the spectators on the edge of their seats throughout the 90 minutes, coach Thabo Senong’s Amajita side went top of the log after an impressive display of some swashbuckling football at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium.
That was after coming from behind after Cameroon had opened the scoring in the 14th minute.
The talented Singh, who plays for Portuguese side Sporting Braga, scored two goals in the first half, opening with a rasping free kick and then completing his double with a penalty in the 26th minute. He then rounded off an amazing evening with a solo breakaway goal on the 57th minute to announce his arrival on the big stage.
With this display, Singh is likely to be on the radar of some big clubs overseas and a call up to the Bafana Bafana team might only be a question of time.
Cameroon provided the early fireworks when an easy header from Eric Mbu gave the Central Africans the lead after the Amajita defence had hesitated in clearing the ball from the danger zone.
But that was the setback that galvanized Amajita into action as they got the equaliser two minutes later.
South Africa won a free kick on the edge of the box and Singh fired home an unstoppable free kick that hit the roof of the net. Less than 10 minutes later, the hard running Sibongakonke Mbatha was brought down in the box and Burundian referee Thierry Nkurunziza did not hesitate to point to the penalty spot. Up stepped Singh to fire the ball into the net and put Amajita in the lead as they went into halftime leading 2-1.
In the second half Amajita continued to put pressure on the Central Africans and constantly beat them, both for pace and in the fancy footwork department.
Singh earned himself the first hat trick of the tournament when he scored his third goal in the 57th minute of the match.
‘We won against a very good team, as Cameroon showed tenacity for the whole 90 minutes,’ said Senong. ‘We need to ensure that the players move game by game. We relied highly only on tactical abilities and the players managed to stay focused throughout the match,’ he concluded.
How the teams lined up:
Cameroon starting XI: Junior Dande; Duplexe Bangou; Tolo Nouhou; Samuel Gouet; Ketu Jih Kalvin; Victor Sylvestre Ekani; Eric Ayuk Mbu; Olivier Mbaizo; Felix Djoubairou; Preston Tabortetaka Obiarrah; Kevin Olivier Soni
Substitutions: Karl Junior Kegne; Serge Martin Ngono;Herve William Andiolo; Felix Emmanuel Cedric Ng; Fabrice Gael Ngah; Rodrigue Ele Ebolo; Joss Moudoumbou Didiba; Amido Mohamed Yindui; Beligne Ahamefula Ngeh;Omossola Simon Loti
South African starting XI: Mondli Mpoto (GK); Notha Ngcobo; Thendo Mukumela; Katlego Mohamme; Sandile Mthethwa; Wiseman Meyiwa; Teboho Mokoena (C); Sibongakonke Mbatha; Grant Margeman; Luther Singh; Itumeleng Shopane
South African substitutions: Sanele Tshabalala; Khulekani Khubeka; Siyabonga Ngezana; Aghmat Ceres; Sipho Mbule; Kobamelo Kodisang; Liam Jordan; Khanyisa Mayo
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