Hattricks have not been all that common in the COSAFA Cup in the past, with just 11 scored in the 25 years of the competition.
We are yet to see a player from Zambia, Namibia or Eswatini net a treble, but that could change when the 2022 tournament is staged in Durban from July 5-17.
Here is a list of the hattricks scored in the COSAFA Cup down the years.
ADELINO (MOZAMBIQUE) VS ESWATINI, 1997
This was the first ever game for Mozambique in the inaugural year of the competition as forward Adelino came to the party with three goals in a 4-0 win. It was part of an exciting start to the competition with Malawi having beaten Botswana 4-1 in the very first COSAFA Cup game the day before. Adelino only ever scored seven national team goals, and almost half came in this game!
PETER NDLOVU (ZIMBABWE) VS ESWATINI, 2004
It would be another seven years before the next hattrick and once again it came against Eswatini. This time it was scored by the great Zimbabwean striker Peter Ndlovu in a 5-0 victory for his side. He scored 37 international goals in all, eight of them in the COSAFA Cup, with this hattrick the last time he netted in the regional competition.
AKWA (ANGOLA) VS MAURITIUS, 2006
Two years later the Angolan forward Akwa got in on the act with a treble against Mauritius to help his side to a 5-1 victory. Angola would go on to lose in the final to Zimbabwe that year. Akwa is also the leading scorer for Palancas Negras in the COSAFA Cup with five goals in total. He scored 38 goals in 78 appearances for Angola in all.
PAULIN VOAVY (MADAGASCAR) VS SEYCHELLES, 2007
Voavy netted a treble against fellow islanders Seychelles as Madagascar romped to a 5-0 success in the 2007 competition. He has remained an important part of the Malagasy national side up to today, having played as recently as 2021, some 14 years after his hattrick feat in the COSAFA Cup.
PHILIP ZIALOR (SEYCHELLES) VS MAURITIUS, 2008
Zialor is the only player in COSAFA Cup history to score four goals in a single game as he achieved the feat in the record 7-0 victory for Seychelles over Mauritius in 2008. It is a result that remains hard to explain to this day and is Seychelles’ only ever COSAFA Cup win in 28 attempts.
JEROME RAMATLHAKWANE (BOTSWANA) VS LESOTHO, 2013
Ramatlhakwane was a fearsome striker on his day and netted his hattrick against Lesotho as he found the back of the net four times at the 2013 COSAFA Cup. He played in South Africa for Santos and Vasco da Gama but had already left those clubs by the time he completed his COSAFA Cup treble.
GABADINHO MHANGO (MALAWI) VS ANGOLA, 2016
Mhango is Malawi’s leading scorer in the COSAFA Cup with six goals, having often used the competition to showcase his quality. Three of those goals came against Angola in the 2016 tournament that was staged in Namibia, the first and, to date, only Flames player to net a hattrick.
OVIDY KARURU (ZIMBABWE) VS SEYCHELLES, 2017
Zimbabwe were flying at the COSAFA Cup in 2017, with Karuru leading the way as he netted six goals in the competition, the most ever by a player in a single competition. Three of those goals came in a 6-0 victory over Seychelles. Karuru played for the national team for 12 years and has seven goals for The Warriors, with six coming in this single COSAFA Cup!
KNOX MUTIZWA (ZIMBABWE) VS LESOTHO, 2017
Mutizwa was another player in superb form during the 2017 COSAFA Cup and he got his hattrick in a thrilling 4-3 victory over Lesotho, one of the best games ever in the regional competition. He would also score in the final as Zimbabwe defeated old foes Zambia 3-1. Mutizwa has six goals for The Warriors, with five coming in the COSAFA Cup in 2017.
TUMISANG OREBONYE (BOTSWANA) VS LESOTHO, 2021
It would be another four years before the next hattrick was scored and it came via Botswana forwardOrebonye, who netted a treble against Lesotho in a 4-0 win. One of his goals was via the penalty-spot for the Morocco-based striker, who showed all his quality and composure.
VICTOR LETSOALO (SOUTH AFRICA) VS LESOTHO, 2021
Lesotho conceded a second hattrick in four days as Bafana Bafana forward Letsoalo netted a treble on debut, the first player in South Africa’s history to do so. It is also just the second ever hattrick for Bafana Bafana since their readmission to international football in 1992. It also meant the last three hattricks in the competition have all come against Lesotho.