Kitwe, Zambia | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s Hippos continued their strong showing in the ongoing Mopani Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships by becoming the first team to make it to the semifinals on Monday.
A tense first half ended 0-0 in Kitwe, before Malawi took the lead in the 70th minute. That lead was soon cancelled by Uganda with Stephen Mukwala finding the all important goal in the winner-takes-all encounter the Arthur Davies Stadium.
Uganda’s Under-20 team, playing as guests, advance with a draw as they have a better goal-difference over the Malawians. With 5 points, Malawi are knocked out of contention for a best loser place.
Holders and hosts Zambia are already out of semifinal contention, but will want to defeat Swaziland at the Nkana Stadium to bow out of the competition in style. That would take them to four points, but short of the top side in the pool, which will be either Uganda or Malawi.
The fact that Egypt and South Africa both already have six points in Group B means that Zambia cannot finish as the best-placed runner-up either.
On Sunday, a goal in injury-time from King Nasama breathed new life into Zimbabwe’s COSAFA Under-20 Championships campaign as they defeated Angola 1-0 in their Group C encounter at the Nkana Stadium.
The win moves Zimbabwe level with Lesotho on four points at the top of the pool after the latter defeated Namibia 2-1 in the earlier game. Zimbabwe play their final pool match against Namibia, who have three points, on Tuesday, while Lesotho tackle Angola, who are now eliminated.
Only the top team in each pool advance to the semifinals, along with the best-placed runner-up.
Nasama came off the bench to seal the win for Zimbabwe in the second minute of injury-time when it looked as though the tie was headed for a draw.
Jelson had the best chance of the game for the Angolans but blasted his shot over from close-range, while Zimbabwe’s Kudakwashe Mangami had earlier been denied brilliantly by Eduardo. Earlier, 10-man Lesotho came from a goal down to secure a 2-1 victory over Namibia thanks to a brace from Raboama Koloti.
After a goalless first half, in which Lesotho had Relebohile Mobane sent-off for a two-footed challenge, Namibia took the lead when Romario Hawiseb volleyed the ball home after a counter-attack to give his side the lead.
Koloti had already missed a number of fine chances for Lesotho before he grabbed the equaliser on 70 minutes as he provided a neat finish having been set free behind the Namibia defence. And six minutes later he had his side in front, turning his defender to drive the ball low past the Namibia goalkeeper.
He might have claimed his hat-trick too, but fire wide of the post after showing good strength to shake off the defender.
Group A P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Uganda 3 1 2 0 5 3 +2
Malawi 3 1 2 0 4 3 +1 5
Swaziland 2 0 1 1 4 5 -1 1
Zambia 2 0 1 1 0 2 -2 1
Group B P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Egypt 2 2 0 0 3 0 +3 6
South Africa 2 2 0 0 3 0 +3 6
Mozambique 2 0 0 2 0 2 -2 0
Mauritius 2 0 0 2 0 4 -4 0
Group C P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Lesotho 2 1 1 0 2 1 +1 4
Zimbabwe 2 1 1 0 1 0 +1 4
Namibia 2 1 0 1 2 2 0 3
Angola 2 0 0 2 0 2 -2 0
Namibia 1 (Hawiseb 64’) Lesotho 2 (Koloti 70’, 76’)
Zimbabwe 1 (Nasama 90’) Angola 0
Matches Played: 13
Goals scored: 24
Biggest victory: Zambia 0 Uganda 2 (Group A, December 6); South Africa 2 Mauritius 0 (Group B, December 7); Egypt 2 Mauritius 0 (Group B, December 9)
Most goals in a game: 5 – Swaziland 2 Malawi 3 (Group A, December 6)
3 goals – Muhammad Shaban (Uganda)
2 – Abdelrahman Amr (Egypt), Lyle Foster (South Africa), Order Mamba (Swaziland), Patrick Phiri (Malawi), Raboama Koloti (Lesotho), Muzi Tsabedze (Swaziland)
1 – Hussein Abdelkader (Egypt), Peter Banda (Malawi), Romario Hawiseb (Namibia), Luvuyo Mkatshana (South Africa), Enzo Mungendje (Namibia), King Nasama (Zimbabwe), Allan Okello (Uganda), Stephen Mukwala (Uganda0