By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
Sports Writer, kick442.com Nigeria
Zambia and East African guest nation Tanzania have booked their place in Saturday’s final of the 2020 COSAFA Women’s Under-17 Championships, sealing qualification with one round of matches still to play.
The pair have nine points at the top of the five-team pool and cannot be caught, which means hosts South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Comoros will play their final games of the tournament on Thursday.
Zambia sealed their spot with a comprehensive 3-0 success over Comoros, with much of the damage done in the first half.
Comfort Selemani headed them ahead from a corner as they put pressure on the islanders’ goal before the lead was doubled just before halftime.
Zambia was handed a spot-kick and Tisilile Lungu scored at the third attempt after Comoros goalkeeper Said Amina saved the initial penalty, and then again from the rebound, but the Lungu was able to finally bury the chance as the defence proved too sluggish to clear the danger.
The points were sealed just past the hour-mark when Bupe Banda netted her first goal of the tournament with a looping shot from the edge of the box that nestled in the corner of the net.
Tanzania made light work of Zimbabwe, racing into a 5-0 lead inside 31 minutes and never looking back, claiming a 10-1 success in the end.
Protasia Mbunda profited from a goalkeeping error to give her side the lead in the opening minute, before tournament leading scorer Aisha Masaka turned provider for Koku Kipanga.
Irene Kisisa, Shehat Mohamedi, and Ester Gindulya all added further goals before the break.
The second half was less frantic as the rain started to pelt down and broke up the rhythm of the play.
But Zawadi Athuman, Mohamedi, Neema Shibara (two), and tournament leading scorer Aisha Masaka, who netted her ninth goal of the campaign, did add further damage for the Tanzanians.
Zimbabwe was able to get a consolation through Rudo Machadu as she bundled the ball home when a free-kick was only parried into her path.
The final round of pool fixtures will be played on Thursday with nothing but pride to play for.
South Africa will look to finish its disappointing campaign on a high when they tackle Comoros Islands (12h30), having only won one of their three matches to date. It would also ensure the consolation of third place.
Zambia has already ensured they will finish top of the pool with a superior head-to-head record against Tanzania, so can afford to rotate some players against Zimbabwe (kick-off 15h30).
That might well be the case with the final just two days later and the need for fresh legs against the impressive Tanzanians.
COSAFA WOMEN’S UNDER-17 CHAMPIONSHIP STATISTICS
Zambia 3 (Selemani 17’, Lungu 44’, B. Banda 61’) Comoros 0
Tanzania 10 (Mbunda 1′, Kipanga 8′, Kisisa 13′, Mohamedi 19′, 89’, Gindulya 31′, Athuman 55’, Shibara 71’, 87’, Masaka 83’) Zimbabwe 1 (Machadu 78’)
12h30 (10h30 GMT) – South Africa vs Comoros
15h30 (13h30 GMT) – Zambia vs Zimbabwe
P W D L GF GA GD PTS
Zambia 3 3 0 0 7 2 5 9
Tanzania 4 3 0 1 22 5 17 9
South Africa 3 1 0 2 9 8 1 3
Zimbabwe 3 1 0 2 4 19 -15 3
Comoros 3 0 0 3 3 11 -8 0
Matches Played: 8
Goals scored: 45
Biggest victory: Tanzania 10 Zimbabwe 1 (November 10)
Most goals in a game: 11 – Tanzania 10 Zimbabwe 1 (November 10)
9 goals – Aisha Masaka (Tanzania)
3 – Jessica Wade (South Africa)
2 – Cindy Banda (Zambia), Protasia Mbunda (Tanzania), Nabeelah Galant (South Africa), Mwanamvua Haruna (Tanzania), Tisilile Lungu (Zambia), Noussrat Mistoihi (Comoros), Shehat Mohamedi (Tanzania), Neema Shibara (Tanzania)
1 – Zawadi Athuman (Tanzania), Bupe Banda (Zambia), Taonga Chulu (Zambia), Mohamed Dalila (Comoros), Ester Gindulya (Tanzania), Koku Kipanga (Tanzania), Irene Kisisa (Tanzania), Jade Leask (South Africa), Joyce Lema (Tanzania), Rudo Machadu (Zimbabwe), Ropafadzo Maferefa (Zimbabwe), Oyisa Marhasi (South Africa), Brenda Ndarowa (Zimbabwe), Morelife Nyagumbo (Zimbabwe), Tyler Scott (South Africa), Comfort Selemani (Zambia)
Own goal – Shehat Mohamedi (Tanzania)
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