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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

COSAFA Cup Group A: Eswatini joins South Africa in semifinal following draw against Botswana

In Wednesday’s later matches at the 2021 COSAFA Cup, Eswatini got the job done with a 1-1 draw against Botswana to clinch second place in Group A and their spot in the semifinals. South Africa already had the top spot in Group A locked up from their perfect start of three wins from three matches, finishing their group stage run with a 0-0 draw against Zambia to eliminate the defending champions from contention for the knockout round.

Eswatini got the first goal they needed to have some breathing room, knowing that they only needed a draw to maintain their second place position in the group. A lofted cross from the left side of the penalty area led to a close range header for Sabelo Ndzinisa, who scored his first goal of the tournament with a bouncing effort to put Eswatini up. Botswana equalized in the second half through Thatayaone Kgamanyane’s third goal of the competition but in the end it was a disappointing effort from the Zebras who could not quite mount a late effort to get the win they needed.

Zambia did try to push in order to get the lopsided result they needed against South Africa, but Bafana Bafana were content to maintain their defensive shape and did so successfully in the scoreless draw. A poor outing in this year’s edition of the COSAFA Cup for Chipolopolo was summed up well by their inability to find a goal to end the competition on a good note and the questions and criticism will continue to swirl around manager Micho Sredojevic as World Cup qualifying continues to approach.

Highlights from South Africa’s draw against Zambia are below.

South Africa 0-0 Zambia