Luther Singh scored a hat-trick as his side overwhelmed Angola 5-0 to set up a final meeting with Zambia at the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championships on Wednesday.
Singh moved to the top of the scorers charts in the tournament by netting his fifth goal in a rampant display that underlines his status as one of his country’s new bright young things.
South Africa will now play the Zambians in the final at the Moruleng Stadium on Friday with a 17h30 kick-off (15h30 GMT). Angola will contest the bronze medal with DR Congo at 11h00 (09h00 GMT)
The match was stopped for around 40 minutes by a floodlight failure at the stadium which delayed the start of the season half.
By then South Africa were already winning 2-0 as Singh reacted quickest after Angola goalkeeper Joao Eduardo had fumbled the ball into his path. Menzi Ndwandwe headed a second a minute before halftime.
The home side continued to mount wave after wave of attacks on the Angolan goal and were rewarded when Singh turned his marker and fired home after 57 minutes.
He added another before the end of the game in an excellent personal display that has taken South Africa to within one win of retaining the COSAFA Under-20 Championships title they won in Lesotho three years ago.
Zambia advanced thanks to goals from joint leading tournament scorer Fashion Sakala and Boyd Musonda.
DR Congo had equalised just before halftime through Chadrack Lukombe, but succumbed to some incessant Zambian pressure in the second period.
Edward Chilufya thought he should have got a penalty for Zambia early on, but the referee waved away his protestations.
Sakala then had the ball in the back of the net but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside as DR Congo battled to contain the fast-paced Zambian attacks.
The deadlock was broken on 37 minutes and there was no surprise that it was the dangerous Sakala to grab the goal, his fourth of the competition.
He was played into space in the box by Patson Daka and provide a neat finish beyond DR Congo goalkeeper Kama Kamalanduaku.
But the Congolese seemed galvanized by the goal and were level just four minutes later with a thumping strike from Lukombe.
Rachidi Kuamanbu then shot over the bar on the turn as the Central Africans finished the half the stronger.
Sakala and Daka both forced fine saves from Kamalanduaku as Zambia pressed in the second period and they finally got their reward thanks to a superb free-kick from Musona that nestled in the top corner.
There was one final moment to send the match to penalties for DR Congo, but Glody Mujinga’s effort struck the post and went away to safety.
Zambia 2 (Fashion Sakala 37’, Boyd Musonda 77’) DR Congo 1 (Chadrack Lukombe 77’)
South Africa 5 (Luther Singh 12’, 57’, 83’, Menzi Ndwandwe 44’, 71’) Angola 0
11h00 (09h00 GMT): DR Congo vs Angola
17h30 (15h30 GMT): Zambia vs South Africa
Group A P W D L GF GA Pts
South Africa 3 3 0 0 10 0 9
Lesotho 3 2 0 1 3 9 6
Swaziland 3 1 0 2 3 3 3
Botswana 3 0 0 3 0 4 0
Group B P W D L GF GA Pts
Zambia 3 3 0 0 10 1 9
Malawi 3 0 1 2 0 4 1
Zimbabwe 2 0 1 1 1 5 1
Group C P W D L GF GA Pts
Angola 3 2 1 0 6 1 7
Mauritius 3 1 2 0 4 2 5
Sudan 3 1 1 1 6 2 4
Seychelles 3 0 0 3 0 11 0
Group D P W D L GF GA Pts
DR Congo 3 2 1 0 3 0 7
Mozambique 3 0 2 1 2 4 2
Comoros 2 0 1 1 2 4 1
Matches Played: 22
Goals scored: 58
Biggest victory: South Africa 8 Lesotho 0 (Group A, December 7)
Most goals in a game: 8 – South Africa 8 Lesotho 0 (Group A, December 7)
5 goals – Luther Singh (South Africa)
4 – Walaa Mohamed (Sudan), Menzi Ndwandwe (South Africa), Fashion Sakala (Zambia)
2 – Patson Daka (Zambia), Marcus Dimanche (Mauritius), Nathan Lusuki (DR Congo), Sibongakonke Mbatha (South Africa), Fransisco Sacalumbo (Angola), Chrispen Sakulanda (Zambia), Felix Vladimiro (Angola)
1 – Pedro Alves (Angola), Tseliso Botswana (Lesotho), Achmat Ceres (South Africa), Edward Chilufya (Zambia), Nelson da Luz (Angola), Nilton Ernesto (Mozambique), Alex Ferre (Mauritius), Saviola Gamedze (Swaziland), Hassan (Sudan), Said Hicham (Comoros Islands), Khubetsoana Kamela (Lesotho), Bruno Langa (Mozambique), Chadrack Lukombe (DR Congo), Thabang Malane (Lesotho), Ali Matse (Swaziland), Bhekani Mthembu (Swaziland), Boyd Musonda (Zambia), Nkosingiphile Ngcobo (South Africa), Khaled Osman (Sudan), Joseph Phiri (Zambia), Itumeleng Shopane (South Africa), Bukhosi Sibanda (Zimbabwe), Sifundo Sibiya (South Africa), Ernest Sita (DR Congo), Ammar Taifour (Sudan), Rudy Vincent (Mauritius), Habib Youssouf (Comoros Islands)