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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

COSAFA Cup: Zambia wrestle spot in the final away from hosts South Africa

Photo Credit: COSAFA Media

Zambia are through to the final of the 2023 COSFA Cup after the Chipolopolo took down hosts South Africa by a 2-1 score on Friday at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi. Tshegofatso Mabasa put Bafana Bafana into the lead just before halftime but a fierce Zambian rally saw Golden Mashata equalize shortly after the break before Albert Kangwanda won it later on. Zambia will now look to win the COSAFA Cup for a record seventh time when they face Lesotho in Sunday’s final.

Spurred on by the home supporters, South Africa looked a bit more inspired in the first half but it was Zambia who had the first firm opportunity. Kangwanda collected the ball forty yards from goal in the 11th minute and dribbled to towards the penalty area before unleashing a low shot that was saved by Bafana goalkeeper and tournament debutant Olwethu Mzimela.

Just before halftime it was the hosts who struck through Orlando Pirates forward Mabasa, who reacted quickly to smash the rebound in from close range after an initial shot from Iqraam Rayners was parried in front of the goal. However the joy for Bafana supporters was quickly extinguished in the second half when a Zambian long throw-in was poorly dealt with and Mashata fired past a helpless Mzimela.

The teams exchanged opportunities for the remainder of the tightly contested match but in the end it was the Chipolopolo who snatched the lead for good. In the 69th minute a foul outside the South African penalty area led to Kangwenda’s beautiful curled effort that went beyond the reach of Mzimela and nestled into the top corner.

Highlights of the second semifinal are below.