By Muambo Edward
Football Writer, Cameroon
South Africa and Zambia separated on a goalless draw in their Group B opener of the 2019 U-23 AFCON on Saturday evening, at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo.
South Africa fielded in what looked to be a full strength team with the likes of Kobamelo Kodisang, Kamohelo Mahlatsi, Teboho Mokoena and Lyle Foster all starting.
The young Bafana created the first chance of the game, Keagan Johanes showed great dribbling skills and tried to tee up Happy Mashiane, but the Zambian defense was vigilant.
Zambia then seized the initiative but failed to capitalize, creating a few half chances.
Kobamelo Kodisang who was South Africa’s brightest player in the contest, showed flashes of brilliance but his shooting let him and his team down.
Coach Bestom Chembeshi’s team looked to be a well drilled defensive unit as they smothered all the South African attacking initiatives till the end of the first half.
In the second half, South Africa’s coach, Notoane, proceeded with the first change at the 56th minute. Thabiso Monyane came in for Mashiane.
Just like in the first half, South Africa did all the attacking and Zambia showed their defensive resilience, though Itumleng Shopane and second half substitute Thabiso Monyane had their heads in their hands for missing guilt-edged chances.
Both teams separated without finding the back of the net though South Africa in particular will look back at the numerous missed scoring chances with a lot of regrets.
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