Zambia were crowned winners of the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championships after defeating South Africa 2-1 in the final at the Moruleng Stadium on Friday.
DR Congo also had something to celebrate as they took home the bronze medal with a penalty shoot-out victory over Angola earlier in the day.
But the Young Chipolopolo were deserved winners of the tournament and claim an 11th Southern African regional title at this age-group level after goals from Kenneth Kalunga and Boyd Musonda earned them the win.
South Africa had levelled in the game through Kabelo Seriba, but were largely outplayed and relinquish the title they won three years ago in Lesotho.
Zambia were the stronger team in the first half and would have been disappointed to go into the break level at 1-1.
They took the lead in the eighth minute after a period of concerted pressure as Kalunga ghosted into the box unmarked to fire the Young Chipolopolo ahead.
He almost made it 2-0 shortly afterwards but saw his goal-bound effort blocked by South African captain Tercious Malepe.
An over-run home side made a switch on the half-hour mark, bringing on Shane Saralina to replace Nkosingiphile Ngcobo as they attempted to bring more solidity on the pitch.
And they were level on 41 minutes when Luther Singh’s free-kick struck the crossbar and with Zambia goalkeeper Mangani Banda unable to clear adequately, Seriba crashed the ball home.
Singh almost found a way through 10 minutes into the second half but was denied by a fine stop from Banda, before Zambian forward Patson Daka had two efforts well saved by Sanele Tshabalala in the home goal.
Zambia did grab their winner five minutes from time when Musonda turned the ball home and they were able to hold on for the victory.
In the bronze-medal match, DR Congo took the lead in the game after Angola fullback Pedro Alves put the ball into his own net, but they were pegged back as Zinadine Catraio equalised from the penalty spot.
But the Congolese held their nerve in the shoot-out to claim a medal in their maiden showing at the Southern African championship, some joy after their senior side missed out on third at the COSAFA Castle Cup that was played in June.
After a slow start Angola forward Felix Vladimiro had the first real opening but missed the target, after which Francisco Sacalumbo saw his goal-bound effort deflected wide and Nelson da Luz headed the resultant corner over the bar.
But it was the Congolese who grabbed the lead as Mvumpa Katompa’s square-ball from the left was bundled into his own net by Alves.
Angola were level just before the hour-mark when Nicolas Kazadi hauled down Sacalumbo in the box and Catraio converted the penalty with ease.
Da Luz fired narrowly wide from a free-kick, while Paulino Nguendelamba smashed his shot over the bar from 18-yards.
There were no further chances and the game went to penalties, with DR Congo racing into a 3-2 lead before there were four missed spot-kicks in succession, two for either side, during which Nathan Lusuki fluffed his chance to win the tie for DR Congo.
But the win was secured when Alberto Miguel skied his penalty, the 12th kick of the shoot-out, and Congo were left to celebrate.
DR Congo 1 (Pedro Alves 34’og) Angola 1 (Zinadine Catraio 57’pen)
DR Congo win 4-3 on penalties
Zambia 2 (Kenneth Kalunga 8’, Boyd Musonda 85’) South Africa 1 (Kabelo Seriba 41’)
Matches Played: 24
Goals scored: 63
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), Boyd Musonda (Zambia), Fransisco Sacalumbo (Angola), Chrispen Sakulanda (Zambia), Felix Vladimiro (Angola)
1 – Pedro Alves (Angola), Tseliso Botswane (Lesotho), Zinadine Catraio (Angola), Achmat Ceres (South Africa), Edward Chilufya (Zambia), Nelson da Luz (Angola), Nilton Ernesto (Mozambique), Alex Ferre (Mauritius), Saviola Gamedze (Swaziland), Hassan Hassan (Sudan), Said Hicham (Comoros Islands), Kenneth Kalunga (Zambia), Khubetsoana Kamela (Lesotho), Bruno Langa (Mozambique), Chadrack Lukombe (DR Congo), Thabang Malane (Lesotho), Ali Matse (Swaziland), Bhekani Mthembu (Swaziland), Nkosingiphile Ngcobo (South Africa), Khaled Osman (Sudan), Joseph Phiri (Zambia), Kabelo Seriba (South Africa), 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)
Own goal – Pedro Alves (Angola)