Goals win games and there have been many great strikers who have made their name in the COSAFA Cup over the last 25 years.
But who has been the top marksmen from each of the 14 member nations of COSAFA and who leads the tournament honours overall ahead of the 2022 COSAFA Cup that will be played in Durban from July 5-17?
Youssouf Ibroihim (Comoros Islands) 2 goals
Striker Youssouf Ibroiham is the only player to score twice for Comoros Islands in the COSAFA Cup among their eight team goals in total. Both his goals came in the first two games of the 2019 competition that was staged in Durban, where Comoros reached the quarterfinals for the first time.
Victor Letsoalo (South Africa) 4 goals
Letsoalo leapt to the top of South Africa’s coring charts with an outstanding display in the 2021 COSAFA Cup, netting a hat-trick on debut against Lesotho and then grabbing a further goal in the semifinals against Mozambique. His hat-trick was just the second ever for Bafana Bafana and the first by a player winning their maiden cap.
Kersley Appou (Mauritius) 4 goals
Appou was a lead forward for the Mauritians in the early years of the tournament, playing between 2000 and 2007. Forward Ashley Nazira scored three goals in the 2019 competition and will hope to get another opportunity when the islanders return to the COSAFA Cup.
Philip Zialor (Seychelles) 4 goals
All of Zialor’s goals in the COSAFA Cup came in one game as Seychelles stunned Mauritius with a 7-0 victory, still the largest win in the history of the competition. His four goals in a single game is also a COSAFA Cup record!
Fabrice Akwa (Angola) 5 goals
Akwa was a star striker for Angola at the turn of the century, who turned out for Portuguese giants Benfica, among other overseas clubs. He scored a hat-trick against Mauritius in 2006 to go with goals in 2000 and 2001. The goals have dried up for Angola, they have not scored in 10 of their last 15 COSAFA Cup games dating back to 2007!
Sarivahy Vombola (Madagascar) 5 goals
All of Vombola’s goals came in the 2015 COSAFA Cup, where he was in electric form and took the Malagasy to third place. He has since battled to repeat that feat.
Justin Shonga (Zambia) 6 goals
Shonga took over as Zambia’s leading scorer from the great Collin Mbesuma at the 2021 tournament when he netted three goals despite Chipolopolo’s early exit. He also scored three times in the 2017 tournament as Zambia were beaten in the final by Zimbabwe.
Motebang Sera (Lesotho) 6 goals
Sera is another who moved to the top of the scorers’ charts for his country in 2021 when he took his six in the competition. He has now scored in five separate COSAFA Cup tournaments, having first netted in 2016, then 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. He is the only player to score in the last five tournaments held.
Deon Hotto (Namibia) 6 goals
Hotto was level with Namibia legend Congo Hindjou going into the 2018 COSAFA Cup, but his strike in the Plate semi-final defeat to South Africa took his career tally to six. Hotto was a star player for Namibia when they lifted the title in 2015, scoring twice in the final win over Mozambique.
Gabadinho Mhango (Malawi) 6 goals
Gabadinho Mhango scored a hat-trick against Angola in the 2016 COSAFA Cup and then added three goals to his tally in 2019 to streak ahead in the leading scorer stakes for The Flames. Behind him on three goals are legend Esau Kanyenda and current team-mate Gerald Phiri Jnr. All of the latter’s goals came in 2019.
Onkabetse Makgantai (Botswana) 6 goals
Makgantai scored five goals in the 2018 COSAFA Cup to boost his overall tally to six, form that earned him a move to Baroka FC in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League. He has one more career COSAFA Cup goal than teammate Kabelo Seakanyeng, who scored in three tournaments between 2016 and 2018.
Manuel ‘Tico-Tico’ Bucuane (Mozambique) 7 goals
Tico-Tico is one of the leading strikers from the COSAFA region and displayed all his talents in the COSAFA Cup, with goals between 1997 and 2008. No other player has had such a long run of scoring in the competition, and he is a legend of Southern Africa.
Peter Ndlovu (Zimbabwe) 8 goals
Ndlovu always made himself available for the COSAFA Cup despite playing in the big leagues in England and his goals return was impressive, stretching over some seven seasons. His hat-trick in 2004 against Eswatini were the final goals he scored in the regional championship.
Felix Badenhorst (Eswatini) 9 goals
Badenhorst was in superb form in the 2016 COSAFA Cup with five goals as Eswatini finished third. He added another goal in 2017 and then two more in 2019. He moved to the top of the list as greatest scorer in the competition’s history with a goal in a 3-1 win over Lesotho in 2021.