South Africa have been crowned champions of the 2019 COSAFA Women’s Championship after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Zambia in the final at a full Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay on Sunday.
It is the third year in a row that the South Africans have claimed the regional title and is their sixth in all from the seven previous championships played as they showcased their quality fresh from an appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
The only goal of the game was scored midway through the first half as Tiisetso Makhubela netted with a fierce shot into the roof of the net after Zambia goalkeeper Hazel Nali had spilled a routine catch.
The home side, roared on by the capacity crowd, continued to create most of the chances, but both goalkeepers made excellent saves to keep the scoreline down.
It is still a best-ever performance by Zambia in the COSAFA Women’s Championship as they earned a silver medal, to go with three previous bronzes.
There will be much to build on for them as they now look ahead to an Olympic Games qualifier against Zimbabwe at the end of this month.
Zambia’s Rachael Nachula picked up the Golden Boot award in the competition for her 10 goals, while South African goalkeeper Andile Dlamini won the Golden Glove for her excellent displays.
Hellen Mubanga from Zambia was named the Player of the Tournament as her strong showings took the Shepolopolo to the brink of a maiden title.
Meanwhile, Tanzania lifted inaugural COSAFA Women’s Under-20 Championship with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over luckless Zambia in the final.
Zambia had triumphed by the same scoreline in their meeting in the group stages, but it was roles reversed as the East Africans this time came out on top.
After a cagey beginning, Tanzania took the lead when Opa Sanga swept home a cross from the left-wing, her third goal of the tournament.
Tanzania had a few opportunities to add to that lead, but were pegged back 10 minutes into the second period when Loveness Malunga netted a wonderful equalizer.
She picked up the ball on the edge of the box and rifled home a shot to bring the score level.
It looked as though the game would be headed for penalties before Protasia Mbunda scored a stunning winner with five minutes remaining.
The ball was cleared to her 30 yards from goal and she crashed a shot into the net from that distance, beating Zambia goalkeeper Anna Mukumbuta with her pace and power.
That sparked wild scenes of celebration and Tanzania were able to hold on for the win and lift the trophy.
Maylan Mulenga from Zambia won the Golden Boot award with five goals, while her compatriot Cynthia Shonga was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
The Player of the Tournament prize went to Enekia Lunyamila from Tanzania, who was a star throughout.
The next COSAFA events will be staged next month as the Women’s Under-17 Championship is played in Mauritius from September 13-22.
That will be followed shortly afterwards by the Boys Under-17 Championship in Malawi from September 26-October 5.
The final event in a busy year that sees COSAFA host six tournaments in all will be the Men’s Under-20 Championship in Zambia from December 4-15.
COSAFA WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP STATISTICS
At Wolfson Stadium
Zambia 0 South Africa 1 (Makhubela 22’)
GROUP A P W D L GF GA PTS
South Africa (Q) 3 3 0 0 23 1 9
Malawi 3 2 0 1 16 3 6
Madagascar 3 1 0 2 5 6 3
Comoros Islands 3 0 0 3 1 35 0
GROUP B P W D L GF GA PTS
Zambia (Q) 3 2 1 0 18 2 7
Botswana (Q) 3 2 1 0 4 0 7
Namibia 3 1 0 2 10 4 3
Mauritius 3 0 0 3 0 26 0
GROUP C P W D L GF GA PTS
Zimbabwe (Q) 3 3 0 0 15 1 9
Eswatini 3 2 0 1 7 8 6
Angola 3 1 0 2 4 9 3
Mozambique 3 0 0 3 2 10 0
Matches played: 22
Goals scored: 117
Biggest victory: South Africa 17 Comoros Islands 0 (Group A, July 31)
Most goals in a game: 17 – South Africa 17 Comoros Islands 0 (Group A, July 31)
10 goals – Rachel Nachula (Zambia)
8 – Linda Kasenda (Malawi)
6 – Emmaculate Msipa (Zimbabwe)
5 – Zenatha Coleman (Namibia), Refiloe Jane (South Africa), Amanda Mthandi (South Africa), Rudo Neshamba (Zimbabwe)
4 – Mavis Chirandu (Zimbabwe)
3 – Bambanani Mbane (South Africa), Hellen Mubanga (Zambia), Mary Mwakapila (Zambia), Asimenye Simwaka (Malawi)
2 – Grace Chanda (Zambia),Ode Fulutudilu (South Africa), Zainabu Kapanda (Malawi), Arminda Lopes (Angola), Hilda Magaia (South Africa), Tiisetso Makhubela (South Africa), Laurinda Maonte (Angola), Tenanile Mgcamphalala (Eswatini), Felistas Muzongondi (Zimbabwe), Busiswe Ndimeni (South Africa), Marjoury Nyaumwe (Zimbabwe), Marie Rasoanandrasana (Madagascar), Nomvula Sanga (Eswatini), Sabinah Thom (Malawi)
1 – Michelle Abueng (Botswana), Kholosa Biyana (South Africa), Noxolo Cesane (South Africa), Hellen Chanda (Zambia), Theresa Chewe (Zambia), Rhoda Chileshe (Zambia), Violeta David (Mozambique), Keitumetse Dithebe (Botswana), Phumzile Dlamini (Eswatini), Esalenna Galekhutle (Botswana), Sibonelo Gwebu (Eswatini), Lorraine Jossob (Namibia), Annouscka Kordom (Namibia), Lucia (Mozambique), Mamello Makhabane (South Africa), Cristina Makua (Angola), Wafat Mari (Comoros Islands), Tshegofatso Mosotho (Botswana), Lovisa Tuyakula Mulunga (Namibia), Hanitriniana Nivonirina (Madagascar), Lebogang Ramalepe (South Africa), Aimée Razanampiavy (Madagascar), Solomampionona Razananivo (Madagascar), Anna Shikusho (Namibia), Nonhle Simelane (Eswatini), Beverly Uueziua (Namibia), Salome Vinkhumbu (Malawi)
Own goals – Marie Jerome (Mauritius), Hanifa Melanie (Comoros Islands), Lalaina Razafimanantsoa (Madagascar)
COSAFA WOMEN’S UNDER-20 CHAMPIONSHIP STATISTICS
At Wolfson Stadium
Zambia 1 (Malunga 56’) Tanzania 2 (Sanga 24’, Mbunda 86’)
GROUP A P W D L GF GA PTS
South Africa (Q) 3 3 0 0 7 1 9
Zimbabwe (Q) 3 2 0 1 8 3 6
Namibia 3 1 0 2 2 6 3
Mozambique 3 0 0 3 2 9 0
GROUP B P W D L GF GA PTS
Zambia (Q) 3 3 0 0 10 2 9
Tanzania (Q) 3 2 0 1 11 2 6
Botswana 3 1 0 2 4 6 3
Eswatini 3 0 0 3 0 15 0
Matches played: 16
Goals scored: 52
Biggest victory: Tanzania 8 Eswatini 0 (Group B, August 4)
Most goals in a game: 8 – Tanzania 8 Eswatini 0 (Group B, August 4)
5 goals – Maylan Mulenga (Zambia)
4 – Shakeerah Jacobs (South Africa), Enekia Lunyamila (Tanzania)
3 – Dinah Banda (Zimbabwe), Mary Mambwe (Zambia), Aisha Masaka (Tanzania), Opa Sanga (Tanzania)
2 – Talent Bizeki (Zimbabwe), Praynence Zvawanda (Zimbabwe)
1 – Veronica April (Namibia), Ember Edwards (South Africa), Theo George (Botswana), Ester Gindulya (Tanzania), Indira Jacobs (Namibia), Tyla-Bree Joss (South Africa), Christine Kalange (Zambia), Florence Kasonde (Zambia), Irene Kisisa (Tanzania), Dulce Lopes (Mozambique), Leia Lunguile (Mozambique), Loveness Malunga (Zambia), Protasia Mbunda (Tanzania), Oratile Mokwena (South Africa), Rennie Mudimu (Zimbabwe), Thandiwe Ndhlovu (Zambia), Thuto Radipitse (Botswana), Shamimu Salum (Tanzania), Getrude Seambala (Botswana), Leungo Senwelo (Botswana), Cynthia Shonga (Zimbabwe), Zethembiso Vilakazi (South Africa)
Own goals –Ncedo Gamedze (Eswatini), Thuto Radipitse (Botswana)