BITTER rivals Zimbabwe and South Africa, the top two teams in Southern Africa, will meet in the 2017 COSAFA Women Championship final at Barbourfields on Sunday after contrasting victories in their semi-final battles yesterday.
The Mighty Warriors, who only squeezed into the last four by virtue of being the best runners-up, finally turned up a performance consistent with their lofty status as they destroyed Kenya 4-0 before the biggest crowd to watch the championships.
Six years ago, Zimbabwe beat Banyana Banyana to be crowned champions in the last tournament. Zimbabwe were comfortable 4-0 winners as they netted goals through competition top-scorer Rutendo Makore, scoring her ninth goal, Berita Kabwe, Marjory Nyaumwe and Priviledge Mupeti.
It was a dominant display from the home side, who squeezed into the semi-finals as runners-up in Group A, but are bow perhaps favourites for the final. South Africa defeated Zimbabwe in the 2002 COSAFA Women’s Championship final, but the latter got revenge when they claimed the 2011 tournament on home soil.
South Africa staged a remarkable comeback to defeat Zambia 5-3 on penalties after the teams had played to a thrilling 3-3 draw. Zambia looked to be cruising into the final as they led 3-0 with just 13 minutes remaining after goals from Barbra Banda, Grace Chanda and Misozi Zulu. But when Leandra Smeda headed home Banyana Banyana were given a sniff, and those chances increased when Smeda then added a penalty to make the score 3-2.
The comeback from complete six minutes from time when Captain Refiloe Jane tapped home at the back post to force the game to penalties. By now the momentum was with the South Africans and they held their nerve in the shoot-out as Esther Mukwasa missed her spot-kick to see Zambia defeated. — Cosafa.com/Sports Reporter