Zimbabwe and Namibia will go head-to-head for top spot in their COSAFA Cup 2015 Group A after both teams picked up wins against island nations on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe hold the aces having made it two wins from two with a 1-0 win over a brave Seychelles, while Namibia are two points back after they eased past the 10-men of Mauritius with a 2-0 win.
That means Namibia must win in their final pool match on Thursday, while opponents Zimbabwe will need just a draw, setting up a thrilling finale to the pool.
Mauritius and Seychelles know they will be going home after the group stages and will have one last fixture to be played against one-another before they head off.
Zimbabwe were in complete control of their game against the Seychelles on Tuesday nut it took until the 53rd minute for them to score as the islanders defended stoutly and with great organisation.
Talent Chawaphiwa got the all important goal with a superb long-range strike that was a worthy winner, while the Zimbabweans wasted further chances to extend their lead.
Seychelles were not able to conjour up much in reply, just a few halfchances that did not trouble the Zimbabwean defence.
Namibia coach Ricardo Mannetti had lamented his side’s finishing in the 0-0 draw against Seychelles last Sunday and so drafted in Botswana-based forward Benson Shilongo into his starting line-up.
The striker took just four minutes to get on the scoresheet and settle the Namibian nerves, before adding a second on 66 minutes from the penalty-spot.
Mauritius had Bruno Ravina red-carded for his part in the penalty incident.
And their night would get worse when frustrated coach Didier Six was sent to the stands for alleged foul language directed at the match officials.
Namibia had numerous chances to add to their score, but had to settle for 2-0 in the end.
On to Wednesday’s action and east African guest nation Tanzania will seek to bounce back from their opening round defeat to Swaziland when they play Madagascar.
The Malagasy also won their first encounter against Lesotho and come into this fixture brimming with confidence.
A win for Tanzania would blow the pool wide open though, especially if it is coupled with a victory for Lesotho that would leave all four teams on three points.
Madagascar and Tanzania clash first at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace at 17h00 local time (15h00 GMT), before Lesotho and Swaziland are in action at the same venue at 19h30 (17h30 GMT).
Seychelles 0 Zimbabwe 1 (Chawaphiwa 53’)
Namibia 2 (Shilongo 4’, 66’pen) Mauritius 0
Madagascar vs Tanzania (KO 17h00 local, 15h00 GMT) – Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Lesotho vs Swaziland (KO 19h30 local, 17h30 GMT) – Royal Bafokeng Stadium
Group A P W D L GF GA Pts
Zimbabwe 2 2 0 0 3 0 6
Namibia 2 1 1 0 2 0 4
Seychelles 2 0 1 1 0 1 1
Mauritius 2 0 0 2 0 4 0
Group B P W D L GF GA Pts
Madagascar 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
Swaziland 1 1 0 0 1 0 3
Lesotho 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
Tanzania 1 0 0 1 0 1 0
Matches Played: 6
Goals scored: 9
Biggest victory: Zimbabwe 2 Mauritius 0 (Group A, May 17); Namibia 2 Mauritius 0 (Group A, May 19)
Most goals in a game: 3 – Lesotho 1 Madagascar 2 (Group B, May 18)
2 goals – Benson Shilongo (Namibia)
1 – Talent Chawaphiwa (Zimbabwe), Ronald Chitiyo (Zimbabwe), Sifiso Mabila (Swaziland), Lantonirina Rabehasinmbola (Madagascar), Carlos Rusere (Zimbabwe), Thapelo Tale (Lesotho), Sarivahy Vombola (Madagascar)