Tanzanite win COSAFA U-20 Women Championship title

12Aug 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Tanzanite win COSAFA U-20 Women Championship title

NATIONAL U-20 women soccer team, Tanzanite, have won the inaugural COSAFA U-20 Women Championship’s silverware after recording 2-1 victory over Zambia in a pulsating final which took place in Port Elizabeth in South Africa yesterday morning.

National U-20 women football team celebrate their 2-1 win over Zambia in the COSAFA U-20 Women Championship final which took place in South Africa yesterday. PHOTO: COURTESY OF COSAFA

 

Much as the Tanzania team were not among the favourites in the competition, they displayed impressive showing in the event and ultimately went on to make short work of the Zambians in the final at Wolfson Stadium.

Forward Opa Clement notched the opener for Tanzanite on the 24th minute, Zambia midfielder Loveness Malunga levelled matters for her team 11 minutes into the second half with a fierce effort from outside the area.

Zambia were thereafter intent on dominating the duel, given they pushed forward and had several good opportunities, which were though wasted.

Tanzanite keeper Tausi Abdallah also deserve credit for the squad's victory given she made a string of good saves, mostly in the second period, to frustrate the Zambians.

Tausi foiled an attempt by Zambia to take the lead shortly thereafter given she made a good dive and calmly saved a header by a Zambia forward from within the penalty area.

Protasia Mbunda made it 2-1 for Tanzanite three minutes from the final whistle as she beat Zambia keeper with a 20 meters blockbuster.

She had raced to a rebound resulted from a weak clearance by a defender that had reacted to Tanzanite skipper Enekia Kasonga’s long throw.

A delighted Tanzanite head coach Bakari Shime said after the duel his squad showcased improvement as time went on and he also expressed satisfaction over the girls' performance in the final.

"We put a good showing in the first match and we continued to improve as time went on... we studied our opponents' strengths and weaknesses and worked on them," Shime disclosed.

"We went for a different game approach in the final, we pushed our opponents and we have in the end laid our hands on the trophy."

Tanzania are, therefore, the first guest nation to win a COSAFA tournament's trophy.

The team, placed in Group B, had an impressive start to the tournament, cruising to 2-0 victory over Botswana and thereafter thumped Eswatini 8-0.

Tanzanite wound up the group stage with a 2-1 loss to Zambia, the results nevertheless did not affect their progression to the last four of the tournament.

The Tanzania girls, against all odds, notched 2-0 win over South Africa in the last four to make it to the final, which saw the former again confront the same group stage opponents.

South Africa claimed the bronze medal in the COSAFA Women’s Under-20 Championship after they triumphed 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw with Zimbabwe.

It was an evenly contested game with few clear-cut chances, but the home side held their nerve in the shoot-out to grab the win.

Miche Minnies had two excellent chances to open the score for South Africa when she first shot wide and then saw her goal-bound effort cleared off the line.

The home team took the lead though when prolific forward Shakeerah Jacobs netted her fourth goal of the campaign just before halftime to move joint top of the scorers charts.

They might have hoped to hold on to that success to the break, but allowed Zimbabwe a leveler when Praynence Zvawanda pounced on a defensive error to score.

Tshegofatso Motlogelwa had an excellent opportunity put South Africa in front in the second period, but shot wide, while Jacobs could have also added a second with more clinical finishing.

The match went to penalties and eventually sudden death, before Zimbabwe goalkeeper Cynthia Shonga missed her spot-kick and South Africa claimed the win.

South Africa defended their silverware in the 2019 COSAFA Women’s Championship, recording 1-0 win over Zambia in the final which was held at the Wolfson Stadium the same day.

South Africa were seeking a hat-trick of titles when they took on Zambia in the final.

The home side have looked the more accomplished throughout the competition, even without their overseas-based stars, but Zambia will be a stern test of their strength in depth.

South Africa have won five of the six COSAFA Women’s Championship finals played, including the last two, while coach Desiree Ellis is unbeaten in 14 previous matches she has coached in the competition, winning 12 with two draws.

That includes the tournament and team record 17-0 thrashing of Comoros Islands earlier on in this year’s even in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Zambia were appearing in their first final having three times before claimed the bronze medal, ensuring that whatever happened in the decider, this will be their best ever finish.

Zimbabwe wrapped up third place at the competition with another accomplished performance as they cruised to a 3-0 victory over the 10 players of Botswana at the Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay on Saturday.

It is the first time Zimbabwe have claimed the bronze medal in the competition, having won a gold and two silvers in the past, and they can be proud of a solid showing at the championship where they were only beaten by hosts South Africa in the semifinals.

Goals in the second period from Felistas Muzongondi (two) and Mavis Chirandu sealed the victory as Zimbabwe proved the more clinical side on the day and might have won by a greater margin.

Botswana ended the game with 10 players after a red card for Lone Gaofetoge with a little over 20 minutes to go, the first sending-off of what has otherwise been a very ‘clean’ tournament.

Zimbabwe were on top from the first whistle but battled to turn their dominance into goals in the opening half.   

But once Muzongondi had them in front three minutes after the break, they followed that up with a quick second to kill off the hopes of Botswana as Chirandu netted for a fourth time in the championship.

It was plain sailing from there as the Mighty Warriors kept the ball and created a few clear-cut opportunities, and added to their score through a second in injury-time from Muzongondi.

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