There is plenty at stake in the 2022 edition of the COSAFA Men’s U-20 Championship as Southern Africa’s members battle for two spots at the 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Egypt next year. It is also a historic occasion with the nation of Eswatini hosting the competition for the first time as Group A began action in Lobamba at the Somhlolo National Stadium on Friday. Zambia comfortably defeated Mauritius 3-0 in the opening match before Eswatini found a late winner to give the home supporters something to celebrate in their 2-1 victory over Botswana.
The young Copper Bullets of Zambia eased to victory in their opener and showed why they will expect to qualify for the knockout stages as Group A winners. ZESCO United playmaker Chipyoka Songa opened the scoring with a penalty kick conversion in the first half after the Mauritian goalkeeper committed a foul in his penalty area. Two goals in the final ten minutes from Rickson Ngambi finished the job for Zambia, who will face hosts Eswatini in their next match on Sunday.
Eswatini and Botswana needed to get off to a good start to establish their credentials and the hosts clinched three points in dramatic fashion on Friday. Botswana’s Nonofo Mosweunyane put the ball into his own net before the quarter hour mark but then equalized for the young Zebras shortly after the half hour mark when his corner kick snuck by the Eswatini goalkeeper. However, late on it was the hosts who seized on a giveaway in the midfield to surge towards the Motswana goal before a cross picked out Mayibongwe Mabuza to nod in the winner.
Highlights from both games are below.