…as Zim march into the semis
DEFENDING champions, South Africa, will take no further part in the on-going COSAFA Castle Cup in the North West province after they were bundled out in a quarter final encounter at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Sunday.
A solitary 18th minute strike from Elias Maguri, condemned the tournament hosts, to the Plate category of the competition. Bafana Bafana coach, Stuart Baxter, fielded a youthful side with just five international caps between them.
The hosts showed no respect for their more experienced opponents dominating the early exchanges putting the Taifa Stars to the sword. Baxter’s charges forced 13corner kicks compared to Tanzania’s two.
However, that did not count in the 18th minute when a good ball was flighted over the Bafana defence to allow Maguri to ghost in from behind defender, Lorenzo Gordhino, to nod past goalkeeper Boalefa Pule.
Sensing danger, the hosts piled pressure on their opponents but were badly let down by Cole Alexander, Judas Moseamedi and Mohau Mokati who fluffed their chances. Bafana Bafana could have levelled the proceedings deep into stoppage time but Gordinho directed his effort wide of target with a yawning net at his mercy.
Baxter attributed the defeat to panic on the part of his young charges.
Meanwhile, SA’s northern neighbours, Zimbabwe continued with their purple patch when they dispatched Swaziland 2-1 to proceed into the semi-finals where they will meet Lesotho on Wednesday. The Warriors made their intentions clear early in the match dominating their opponents who were playing their first match of the tournament.
It was no surprise when exciting Amazulu FC player, Ovidy Karuru, drew first blood in the 16th minute to place himself as the second all-time highest COSAFA Cup scorer with 6goals behind fellowman countryman, Peter Ndlovu, who has 8goals to his name.
However, playing in their fourth match within a week, fatigue seemed to creep into the Warriors and allowed Swaziland to equalize through AS Vita player, Felix Badenhorst, in the 48th minute.
With the match seemingly headed for extra time, Golden Arrows striker, Knox Mtizwa, rose from the bench to snatch the winner with 11minutes before full time. Free kick specialist and man-of-the-match, Ocean Mushure, sent an inviting ball which was flicked on past the near post by Mtizwa.
Zambia also qualified for the semi-final stage by claiming the scalps of Botswana 2-1 on Saturday while penalties had to decide the tie between Lesotho and Namibia.
The first semi-final match between Tanzania and Zambia will be played at 1700Hrs at Moruleng Stadium with the second between Lesotho and Zimbabwe following at the same stadium at 1930Hrs.