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Zambia Knock Bafana Out Of COSAFA Cup To Reach The Final

Defending champions Zambia have knocked out Bafana’s makeshift squad by winning 2-1 to reach the final of the COSAFA Cup at King Zwelithini Stadium on Friday night.

Zambia, who had to come from behind, will meet Lesotho in the final at the same venue on Sunday (18:00).   

Lesotho booked their final spot in this regional tournament after they beat Malawi in their semi-final on penalty shootouts at the same venue on Friday.   

Bafana were the first to get on the act of scoring, as Tshegifatso Mabasa took full advantage of the parried ball by Francis Mwansa to blast into the net just one minute before half-time.

But Zambia rallied back stronger as Albert Kangwanga scored from a similar range five minutes after half-time. Albert Kangwanga’s stunning free kick settled the match in the 68th minute after Katlego Mohamme was penalised.     

Mabasa, having scored two goals in the come-from-behind win over Botswana, was restored to lead the line up.

There was also a debut for AmaZulu young goalkeeper Olwethu Mzimela, who replaced Jethren Barr, whose ankle was heavily strapped in the last session on Thursday.

Mzimela has never played for Usuthu in any game in the top flight but he is rated highly by the club.  

Rowan Human was also left out, with coach Morena Ramoreboli opting for Shaune Mogaila.

Ramoreboli’s thinking was to ensure that Mogaila tracks back, while Human is more offensively-minded, needing some balance on the right hand side.        

While the game was cagey from both sets early, Rayners linked well with Lesedi Kapinga, with the Stellies striker’s riffle parried in the box by Zambia goalie Mwansa and Mabasa was on hand to blast into the roof of the net in the 44th minute.

It was Mabasa’s third goal in the competition.  

The lead for Bafana did not last long as Mashata saw the ball fell kindly to him and just like Mabasa, he riffled into the roof of the net and Mzimela had no chance in the 50th minute.        

Magaila went close for Bafana to re-establish the lead, teasing his man but flushed a powerful shot wide from close range.  

Coach Ramoreboli made a double sub just after the hour’s mark time, taking off Kapinga and Mogaila, with Human and Victor Letsoalo taking their places.

But Kangwanga silenced the crowd as Zambia took the lead in the 68th minute for the first time in the match, beating Mzimela with a brilliantly curled free-kick.

South Africa tried to get back into the game and Zambia, watched by their head coach Avram Grant, shut shops to ensure they reached the final yet again having won this cup last year.  

Bafana will now face Malawi in the playoff match on Sunday (15:00). 

Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala is iDiski Times' KwaZulu-Natal-based web journalist. Boasting extensive experience in the South African football landscape, Robin-Duke has previously worked for Kick-Off Magazine, Soccer Laduma, and Daily Sun and Sunday Sun. He specialises in breaking news and transfers around South Africa’s big clubs in KZN.