A goalless draw might not appear to be the most thrilling of matches, but there have been few COSAFA Castle Cup games filled with more tension and drama as the fixture between Lesotho and Botswana in Maseru in 2004.
The 90 minutes had plenty of action, but both sides spurned chances to grab an all-important winning goal in the first round clash.
Botswana had brought a strong side that included stalwarts such as goalkeeper Modiri Marumo, midfielder Dipsy Selolwane and utility player Nelson Gabolwelwe, while Lesotho had the lively Kabelo Mosothoane, who would claim the Man of the Match prize.
Try as they might neither side could force a winner, which meant the game went to spot-kicks, producing some high drama and an unforgettable shoot-out.
It was advantage Botswana early on when Selolwane netted his kick and home player Teele Ntsonyana saw his effort saved by Marumo.
That would be the start of three misses in a row as Kabelo Kgosiang (Botswana) and Lebajoa Mphongoa (Lesotho) both also saw their efforts saved.
Gabolwelwe then had a chance to win the shoot-out for Botswana, but saw his spot-kick saved by home goalkeeper Thabo Khoboli and Malefetsane Pheko scored to send the game into sudden death.
And the pendulum then swung in the favour of Lesotho when Khumo Motlhabane missed his kick, giving Moses Ramafole the chance to win it for the Mountain Kingdom.
But he could not hit the target and Botswana lived to fight on, with the next 11 kicks scored. That included penalties from both goalkeepers, Marumo and Khoboli.
By now some players, such as Selolwane, were taking their second spot-kicks in the shoot-out as the all players on the pitch had taken their turn.
The drama finally came to an end when Lesotho defender Lehlohonolo Seema put his shot wide of goal and Botswana claimed the victory 11-10.
The penalty shoot-out had contained 28 penalties, comfortably the most ever in a COSAFA Castle Cup match, and nail-biting action for the home crowd, who would ultimately go home disappointed.
Botswana were also involved in a shoot-out in the quarterfinals after a 1-1 draw with Angola, but this time they lost 5-3 as Ernest Amos saw his effort saved.
Sunday, February 29, 2004 – Maseru
Botswana won 11-10 on penalties
Ref.: Arvo Mufeti (Namibia)
Man of the match: Kabelo Mosothoane (Lesotho)
Lesotho: Thabo Khoboli, Tsepo Hlojeng, Thabang Mahlakajoe, Motlatsi Maseela, Lehlohonolo Seema, Malefetsane Pheko, Bushy Moletsane, Moses Ramafole, Kabelo Mosothoane, Lebjajoa Mphongoa, Masupha Majara (Teele Ntsonyana 62’). Coach: Mafa Ramakau.
Botswana: Modiri Marumo, Ndiapo Letsholathebe, Khumo Motlhabane, Talinda Nyathi, Tsepo Motlhabankwe (Tebego Mothusi 73’), Seabo Gabanakgosi, Kabelo Kgosiang, Phadza Butale (Duncan Kgopolelo 87’), Nelson Gabolwelwe, Masego Ntshingane (Tshepiso Molwantwa 46’), Dipsy Selolwane. Coach: Vesselin Jelusic.