Nicholas Magawu of Free State
Thursday Jul 17, 2014. 12:14
Free State head coach Litre Mokitlane praised goalkeeper Nicholas Magawu following his side's 3-1 penalty shoot-out win over University Sports South Africa in the first quarter-final of the SAB Under-21 National Championship at the Montshiwa Stadium in Mafikeng on Thursday morning.
Magawu continued his heroics in goal, saving two penalties as the Free State province booked their place in the final four.
The game ended 2-2 after regulation time.
Mokitlane was visibly proud of his troops who fought back from 2-0 to force the penalty shoot-out, explaining that the manner in which you win in the knockout stages matters little at the end of the day.
"The most important thing, especially in a tournament like this, is that you progress. At half-time I told the players they should not panic, they must show guts and play according to their strengths and that is exactly what they did," said Mokitlane.
A brace by man of the match Sifiso Nkosi handed USSA a two goal lead before the hour mark.
Dylan O'Brien's spot-kick pulled one back for the Free State in the 70th minute before substitute Tebogo Modise scored with five minutes remaining.
"We put in that young boy, Tebogo (Modise) to give us the width and we had Tshepo (Mokhabi) to give us the width, I told the boys that we must penetrate them through the middle and not play the high ball because they have a tall guy there (Sfiso Nkosi), I told them that, the coach added.
"I told (Modise) because he is small and offensive, he must put pressure on the opposition and that is exactly what he did, he won the penalty before scoring for us.
O'Brien missed Free State's second penalty in the shoot-out, but Magawu pulled off two terrific saves before Gabriel Moshoma thumped his effort over the bar to secure Free State's passage to the final four.
Mokitlane rightfully had high praise for his keeper who has been outstanding throughout the tournament.
"I told the boys that they must nominate themselves, whoever is willing to take a penalty, go and take. Have confidence, pick your spot, give it heart.
"Nicholas was excellent, super. I can't say anything else about him. Against Limpopo he made four one v one saves , he saved us, same today. Marvelous!," concluded a delighted Mokitlane.