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Sunday, October 1, 2023

COSAFA Cup: Curtain raiser sees Botswana edge Eswatini

Photo Credit: COSAFA Media

The 2023 COSAFA Cup is off and running in Durban, South Africa with Botswana emerging victorious in a 1-0 result over Eswatini to begin the competition. Lebogang Ditsele finished from close range in the first half to provide the only goal of the match and give the Zebras maximum points. Botswana will face hosts South Africa next on Saturday and Eswatini will attempt to find their first points against Namibia.

Botswana held the advantage in recent head-to-head matches between the sides but it was an even match that ended with a bit of controversy. After the teams exchanged early opportunities the Zebras struck through Ditsele, who was on the spot to fire in after a long throw-in from the right flank by Norman Mabaya was flicked on by Molaodi Tlhalefang.

Eswatini created their fair share of chances and showed initiative after halftime but struggled to put their efforts on target. After a strong start to the second half from their opponents, Botswana did well to disrupt the rhythm of the match and came close to doubling the lead but Eswatini goalkeeper Ncamiso Dlamini did well to deny Thatayaone Kgamanyane in the 64th minute.

A final push from Eswatini led to a moment of contention in the final seconds when a hopeful early cross came in and Botswana left back Benson Mangolo’s clearance attempt came off his outstretched arm. A furious protest from the Eswatini players fell on deaf ears and they left the King Zwelithini Stadium empty handed.

Highlights from COSAFA TV are below.