(Times Live) - Amajita have been handed a draw from hell at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in May‚ being grouped with Italy‚ Japan and Uruguay
South Africa were drawn in one of two “groups of death”.
The other comprised hosts Korea Republic‚ England‚ Argentina and Guinea in Group A.
Arguably‚ though‚ Amajita’s Group D was the toughest as it includes two current continental youth champions and one runner-up.
The draw was conducted in Suwon‚ South Korea on Wednesday night (Wednesday morning SA time) and attended by South Africa’s Under-20 coach Thabo Senong‚ who will know his side have a tough task ahead of them.
Italy might be considered Amajita’s strongest opposition.
They were one of five European teams who qualified for the U-20 World Cupa and did it by reaching the final of the 2016 Uefa Championship in Germany in July‚ losing 4-0 there against France.
Uruguay‚ though‚ might pose even more imposing opposition as they qualified by winning the 2017 South American Youth Championship in Ecuador in February.
To make the group even tougher Japan‚ who will be playing in their own region‚ also qualified as continental champions.
They were penalties winners in the final of the 2016 Asian Football Confederation U-19 Championship over Saudia Arabia in Bahrain in October.
South Africa reached the U-20 World Cup finishing in fourth place at the past two weeks’ Caf U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Zambia‚ losing 2-1 against Guinea in the third-place playoff‚ having lost 1-0 in extra time against the hosts in the semifinals.
On paper and by footballing reputation‚ the four groups other than A and D are less imposing‚ though youth football can be unpredictable given certain countries with lesser profiles might have strong generations‚ and other more famous ones less so.
The U-20 World Cup in South Korea runs from May 20 to June 11.
Amajita kick off their tournament against Japan in Suwon on May 21‚ then meet Italy there on May 24 and Uruguay in Incheon on May 27.
Fifa Under-20 World Cup groups:
Group A: Korea Republic‚ Guinea‚ Argentina‚ England
Group B: Venezuela‚ Germany‚ Vanuatu‚ Mexico Group C: Zambia‚ Portugal‚ Iran‚ Costa Rica
Group D: South Africa‚ Japan‚ Italy‚ Uruguay Group E: France‚ Honduras‚ Vietnam‚ New Zealand
Group F: Ecuador‚ USA‚ Saudi Arabia‚ Senegal