Malawi defeated hosts Mauritius 2-0 in their final 2017 COSAFA Under-17 Championship Group A game to top the pool and set up a mouth-watering semifinal with Zambia on Friday.
The Mauritians had already booked their place in the Last 4 prior to kick-off and will now take on South Africa in the knockout stages.
Malawi have cruised through their group with nine goals scored and none conceded to make them genuine gold medal hopes this year, having picked up the bronze 12 months ago.
They scored goals in each half through Patrick Mwaungulu and Josephy Balakasi to claim a deserved victory. Botswana took third place in Group A as they left it late to secure a 2-1 victory over Zimbabwe, who now go home with three straight defeats.
Zimbabwe had taken the lead on the hour-mark through Tinotendaishe Benza, but two goals in the final 14 minutes from Kaone Bogosi turned the game in the favour of the Young Zebras.
Thursday is a rest day at the competition, but the action resumes on Froday with the semifinals.
Malawi and Zambia will take centre-stage first at the Stade St Francois Xavier, with their fixture that kicks-off at 12h30 local time (08h30 GMT).
Hosts Mauritius will hope for a vociferous home crowd when they meet South Africa in the later game at the same venue, which will kick-off at 15h30 local time (11h30 GMT).
WEDNESDAY’S GROUP A RESULTS
Malawi 2 (Mwaungulu 16’ Balakasi 73’) Mauritius 0
Botswana 2 (Bogosi 76’, 90’) Zimbabwe 1 (Benza 60’)
FRIDAY’S SEMIFINAL FIXTURES
Malawi vs Zambia (KO 12h30 local, 08h30 GMT) – Stade St Francois Xavier
South Africa vs Mauritius (KO 15h30 local, 11h30 GMT) – Stade St Francois Xavier
Group A P W D L GF GA Pts
Malawi 3 3 0 0 9 0 9
Mauritius 3 2 0 1 3 3 6
Botswana 3 1 0 2 3 5 3
Zimbabwe 3 0 0 3 1 8 0
Group B P W D L GF GA Pts
South Africa* 3 2 0 1 10 7 6
Zambia 3 2 0 1 10 4 6
Mozambique 3 2 0 1 4 3 6
Madagascar 3 0 0 3 4 14 0
*SA top the pool on head-to-head against Zambia and Mozambique.
Matches Played: 12
Goals scored: 44
Biggest victory: Zambia 7 Madagascar 1 (Group B, July 21)
Most goals in a game: 8 – Zambia 7 Madagascar 1 (Group B, July 21)
5 goals – Lameck Banda (Zambia)
4 – Junior Nare (South Africa)
3 – Chinsinsi Maonga (Malawi), Martin Njobvu (Zambia), Mohammed Shahabodien (South Africa)
2 – Patrick Mwaungulu (Malawi), Kaone Bogosi (Botswana)
1 – Mamitina Andriamahazaka (Madagascar), Mamisoa Andriamalala (Madagascar), Jean Aristide (Mauritius), Josephy Balakasi (Malawi), Tinotendaishe Benza (Zimbabwe), Geny Catamo (Mozambique), Adriano Chiu Chung Fat (Mauritius), Dillan Fanomezantsoa (Madagascar), Alex Da Silva (South Africa), Kingsley Hakwiya (Zambia), Celton Jamisse (Mozambique), Edilson Luis (Mozambique), Chikondi Mbeta (Malawi), James McFarlane (South Africa), Prince Mumba (Zambia), Gerson Novela (Angola), Louis Philibert (Mauritius), Stéphan Rakotovao (Madagascar), Olefile Ramatlo (South Africa), Godfrey Tauyatswala (Botswana), Frank Titani (Malawi), Tathedwa Willard (Malawi)