The national U-17 team, Serengeti Boys fought gallantly to hold host South Africa's Amajimbos to a 1-1 draw in the 2017 CAF African Youth championships (AYC) qualifiers first leg encounter yesterday.
The results put Serengeti Boys few meters from qualifying into the third round.
They need to win by any margin in the return leg match due a fortnight later at Azam's Chamazi Complex in Dar es Salaam. Serengeti Boys were looking at maintaining their success in the qualifiers, following a resounding 9-0 thrashing of Seychelles aggregate.
Both goals were netted in the second half in the match played at the Dobsonville Stadium, where South Africa Football Association (SAFA) decided to make it an entry free match, to make it difficult for Serengeti Boys.
Amajimbos were the first to score through a penalty kick well converted by Linamandlia Mchilizeli in the 65th minute, before Ally Msingi also stepped up to make it all square from a spot kick five minutes later.
According to the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Media and Communication Officer, Alfred Lucas, who accompanied the team in South Africa, the host started the match on a front foot, pinning Serengeti Boys at their own domain in the opening ten minutes.
However, Serengeti Boys reorganised and took control of the game, creating several clear-cut chances but went begging, including hitting the posts twice. Amajimbos coach Molefi Ntseki was forced to make early changes and it slightly lifted them up.
Serengeti Boys goalkeeper, Ramadhani Kabwili was called off his line several times to make smart saves. And after several near misses, the host won a penalty after Mchilizeli was fouled in the box. He stepped up to send keeper a wrong way.
Serengeti pressed up forward for an equaliser almost immediately and they also won a spot kick, after defender Luke Donn handled the ball in the box. Msingi made no mistake and pulled the game level.
Serengeti Boys arrived in Johannesburg on Wednesday after they wrapped up their groundwork in Madagascar's capital Antananarivo with a convincing 2-0 win over their hosts, Madagascar on Tuesday.
Cyprian Mtesigwa and Kelvin Nashon scored in the 77th and 86th minutes respectively to seal the win for the Tanzanian boys. It was the second game between the two sides after Sunday's stalemate.
While Serengeti Boys booked a date with the Amajimbos after seeing off Seychelles, South Africa dumped out Serengeti Boys during the qualifiers for the 2015 AYC on a 4-0 goal aggregate.
The overall winner of the two-legged match will face the winner between Namibia and Congo-Brazzaville.
Source: Tanzania Daily News.