Zambia claimed pole position in Group B at the 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship after a 1-0 victory over Central African guest nation Cameroon at the Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay on Saturday.
Lushomo Mweemba scored the only goal of the game with an excellent free-kick, with the match something of a stop-start affair with a high number of injuries.
It means Zambia have six points from their two games so far and need just a point in their final game against Mozambique on Tuesday to secure top-spot and advance to the semifinals.
Cameroon will believe they can also qualify as the best second-place finisher, especially with their healthy goal-difference built up in an 8-1 success over the Mozambicans in their opener.
Both of these sides have qualified for the African Women’s Championship in Ghana in November, so this match gave them plenty of insight into the quality of that field.
Mozambique kept their slim semifinal hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over Lesotho in the opening game of the day.
The first half was goalless, though Cidalia Cuta missed an excellent chance to score when she found herself one-on-one with Lesotho goalkeeper Thuto Maifo.
But Cuta did grab her second goal of the championships when she netted early in the second half, but Lesotho found an equalizer when Litseoana Maloro netted on the hour-mark.
The points were decided on 72 minutes though as Player of the Match Lucia Moçambique netted from a direct free-kick for an excellent winner.
East African guest nation Uganda and Namibia played to a 0-0 draw in their clash, with both sides showing quality into the final third, but unable to convert their chances into goals.
Sunday will be a rest day at the tournament, but the action will resume on Monday when the final set of matches will be played in Groups A and C.
Hosts South Africa need just a point against Malawi at the Wolfson Stadium (15h30 local time; 13h30 GMT) to secure top spot in Group A after their thrilling last-second success against Botswana on Friday.
The Mares will be in action at the same time at the Westbourne Oval when they play Madagascar, who have already been eliminated from the competition.
Victories for Malawi and Botswana would leave the duo on six points with South Africa, with the equation then coming down to head-to-head.
Earlier in the day, Group C will be decided when Zimbabwe tackle Uganda at the Wolfson Stadium (13h00; 11h00 GMT).
It is a titanic clash for top spot, with both sides also mindful that the best runner-up among the three pools also advances to the semifinals.
Zimbabwe will need just a draw to advance, but Uganda will overtake them with a win.
The other match in that pool will be played at the same time at the Westbourne Oval as Eswatini take on Namibia, with both sides playing for pride.
Entrance to both match venues is FREE to the public.
All Wolfson Stadium
Lesotho 1 (Litseoana Maloro) Mozambique 2 (Cidalia Cuta, Lucia Moçambique)
]Namibia 0 Uganda 0
Zambia 1 (Lushomo Mweemba) Cameroon 0
At Wolfson Stadium
13h00 (11h00 GMT) –Zimbabwe vs Uganda
15h30 (13h30 GMT) –South Africa vs Malawi
At Westbourne Oval
13h00 (11h00 GMT) –Eswatini vs Namibia
15h30 (13h30 GMT) –Botswana vs Madagascar
GROUP A P W D L GF GA PTS
South Africa 2 2 0 0 3 1 6
Botswana 2 1 0 1 2 1 3
Malawi 2 1 0 1 2 2 3
Madagascar 2 0 0 2 1 4 0
GROUP B P W D L GF GA PTS
Zambia 2 2 0 0 3 0 6
Cameroon 2 1 0 1 8 2 3
Mozambique 2 1 0 1 3 9 3
Lesotho 2 0 0 2 1 4 0
GROUP C P W D L GF GA PTS
Zimbabwe 2 2 0 0 4 0 6
Uganda 2 1 1 0 4 3 4
Namibia 2 0 1 1 0 1 1
Eswatini 2 0 0 2 3 7 0
Matches Played: 12
Goals scored: 34
Biggest victory:Cameroon 8 Mozambique 1 (Group B, September 13)
Most goals in a game:9 – Cameroon 8 Mozambique 1 (Group B, September 13)
3 goals – Mpeh Bissong (Cameroon)
2 – Cidalia Cuta (Mozambique), Raissa Mbappe (Cameroon), Hasifah Nassuna (Uganda), Marjory Nyaumwe (Zimbabwe)
1 – Barbra Banda (Zambia),Zainab Kapanda (Malawi), Linda Kasenda (Malawi), Lesego Keleboge (Botswana), Litseoana Maloro (Lesotho), Charlene Meyong (Cameroon), Tenanile Mgcamphalala (Eswatini), Lucia Moçambique (Mozambique), Felistas Muzongondi (Zimbabwe), Lushomo Mweemba (Zambia), Resty Nanziri (Uganda), Celiwe Nkambule (Eswatini), Abena Ninon (Cameroon), Agnes Nkada (Cameroon), Alupo Norah (Uganda), Susan Nyama (Zimbabwe), Lesego Radiakanyo (Botswana), Sarah Rasoanandrasana (Madagascar), Jermaine Seoposenwe (South Africa), Cebile Shongwe (Eswatini), Nothando Vilakazi (South Africa),Khanya Xesi (South Africa), Misozi Zulu (Zambia).