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SA U17 Captain Targets AFCON Title And World Cup Spot

South Africa U17 captain Benjamin Wallis says they are targeting to qualify for the 2023 U17 FIFA World Cup and the U17 Africa Cup of Nations title.

South Africa are set to leave for Algeria where they are in Group B alongside, Morocco, Nigeria and Zambia at the continental showpiece.

Wallis, who led the side to the runners-up medal at the U17 COSAFA Cup in Malawi last year has retained his leadership role and showed his ambitious nature when addressing the media at SAFA house on Tuesday after the final 21-man squad was confirmed.

“I would just like to say thank you so much to SAFA and the coaches for an unbelievable opportunity, this is a tournament on the world stage, globally recognised,” Wallis said.

“So it’s a fantastic opportunity for us to go out there and show the world what we can do. And then I’d like to say thank you for the support system that we’ve been granted, it’s been unbelievable, off the field we’ve been given what we need, as well as on the field.

“So I think all the boys are very excited now to get going and get to start heading towards the goal of qualifying for the World Cup and ultimately winning the tournament.”

Luis Machava of Mozambique challenges Benjamin Wallis of South Africa during the TotalEnergies U-17 Africa Cup Of Nations Algeria 2023 / COSAFA Qualifier match between Mozambique and South Africa on on the 05 December 2022 at Bingu National Stadium © Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Wallis, who iDiski Times reported last month, spent training at Fulham and Lincoln City is showing signs of leadership not only on the field but off of it as a positive role model for the talented crop of youngsters, according to head coach Duncan Crowie.

“The good thing about this lot, it’s not only about soccer, eating, sleeping – as the Technical Director mentioned, we have a tutor with us as well and it’s very tough for them,” Crowie said about the SuperSport United defender.

“At the moment, the first week, they train twice a day, rush to shower, come down for a meal then they still have to study.

“Ben is one of them that encourages them to study, he’s a captain not only on the field, but off the field too.”

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.