COSAFA Under-20s – Classic Finals: South Africa 5 Zambia 4 (2004)

One of the best matches ever in a COSAFA competition at any level came in the final of the 2004 Under-20 Championships when South Africa defeated a powerful Zambian side in a nine-goal thriller!

Zambia were the defending champions and went into the final as favourites against the hosts, with a tight match expected.

Few would have expected the goal-rush at the Caledonian Stadium as South African substitute Lebohang Mokoena netted a hat-trick to stun Young Chipolopolo.

Mokoena only started on the bench but an early injury to Junior Khanye saw him take to the field.

And he opened the scoring on 19 minutes before netting again six minutes later.

The rampant South Africans added a third goal in the first half through Lerato Chabangu, who won the award for Golden Boot in the tournament.

Amajita led 3-2 at the break as Rainford Kalaba and Fred Yumba kept Zambia in the hunt, but they extended that advantage immediately after the break as Daine Klate netted again.

But Zambia kept in the hunt and when Kalaba netted his brace and Whyson Phiri levelled matters to set up a grandstand finish.

Mokoena was not about to be denied though and completed his hat-trick with five minutes to play, much to the delight of the raucous home side.

Kalaba was rewarded for his efforts with the Player of the Tournament prize, some reward for his brilliant showing at the tournament.

He would go on to have an excellent career with the Zambia senior national side, playing a huge role in their victory at the African Nations Cup finals in 2012.

He had spells in France, Portugal, Egypt and the DR Congo with TP Mazembe, and remains an important part of the Chipolopolo side.

Yumba and Phiri played locally, but found little further international success.

Other key players in that Zambian side included Davies Nkausu, who would go on to have a stellar career in the South African Premier Soccer League and was also a Nations Cup winner four years ago.

Mokoena is still playing having recently signed for Ajax Cape Town, but spent much of his career with top clubs Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns.

Chabangu also won plenty of titles during time spent with Sundowns and SuperSport United, while Klate is one of the most decorated in South African domestic football having excelled at SuperSport, Pirates and BidVest Wits.

This year’s COSAFA Under-20 Championships, sponsored by PPC, will be staged in South Africa’s North West province from December 7-16.

Zambia have been drawn in a tough three-team Group B that also includes Zimbabwe and Malawi, while South Africa must overcome neighbours Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland to get out of Group A.