Goals win games and there have been many great strikers who have made their name in the COSAFA Cup over the last 22 years. But who has been the top marksmen from each of the 14 member nations of COSAFA and who leads the tournament honours overall ahead of the 2019 COSAFA Cup that will be played in Durban from May 25-June 8?
Ahmed Ali, Mohamed Mouigni (Comoros Islands) 1 goal
Only two players have found the back of the net for the Comoros in their six previous matches in the COSAFA Cup, a record they will definitely be looking to improve should they return to the showpiece event in 2019.
Pollen Ndlanya, Patrick Mayo, Katlego Mphela, Teko Modise, Gift Motupa, Lebohang Maboe (South Africa) 3 goals
Perhaps because they change their squad so often, South Africa have not found a regular goal-scorer in this competition, but these six players all have three goals to their name. Maboe is the one who could add to his tally in 2019.
Jones Nkhwazi, Esau Kanyenda, Gabadinho Mhango (Malawi) 3 goals
Malawi legend Esau Kanyenda is among the leading marksman for The Flames in the COSAFA Cup and current striker Gabadinho Mhango will be looking to add to his haul in 2019.
Kersley Appou (Mauritius) 4 goals
Appou was a lead forward for the Mauritians in the early years of the tournament, playing between 2000 and 2007.
Onkabetse Makgantai (Botswana) 6 goals
Makgantai scored five goals in the 2018 COSAFA Cup to boost his overall tally to six, form that earned him a move to Baroka FC in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League. He has one more career COSAFA Cup goal than current teammate Kabelo Seakanyeng, who has scored in the last three tournaments.
Philip Zialor (Seychelles) 4 goals
All Zialor’s goals in the COSAFA Cup came in one game as Seychelles stunned Mauritius with a 7-0 victory, still the largest win in the history of the competition. His four goals in a single game is also a COSAFA record!
Fabrice Akwa (Angola) 5 goals
Akwa was a star striker for Angola at the turn of the century, who turned out for Portuguese giants Benfica, among other overseas clubs. He scored a hat-trick against Mauritius in 2006 to go with goals in 2000 and 2001
Deon Hotto (Namibia) 6 goals
Hotto was level with Namibia legend Congo Hindjou going into last year’s COSAFA Cup, but his strike in the Plate semi-final defeat to South Africa took his career tally to six. Hotto was a star player for Namibia when they lifted the title in 2015 and will be a key man again for them in 2019.
Collins Mbesuma (Zambia) 5 goals
Mbesuma is one of the best strikers to come out of Southern Africa, who might have achieved more were it not for crippling knee injuries that stunted his career. He scored four goals in the 2005 COSAFA Cup and found the back of the net in 2003. He is still playing second-tier football in South Africa.
Maile Tlale (Lesotho) 5 goals
Tlale shone in the 2013 COSAFA Cup with four goals and got another in 2015 as he showed his prowess in the box.
Sarivahy Vombola (Madagascar) 5 goals
All Vombola’s goals came in the 2015 COSAFA Cup, where he was in electric form and took the Malagasy to third place. He has since battled to repeat that feat.
Felix Badenhorst (eSwatini) 6 goals
Badenhorst was in superb form in the 2016 COSAFA Cup with five goals as Swaziland finished third. He added another goal in 2017 and will be looking to take his tally further this year after recently being named captain of the side.
Manuel ‘Tico-Tico’ Bucuane (Mozambique) 7 goals
Tico-Tico is one of the leading strikers from the COSAFA region and displayed all his talents in the COSAFA Cup, with goals between 1997 and 2008. He is a legend of Southern Africa.
Peter Ndlovu (Zimbabwe) 8 goals
Ndlovu always made himself available for the COSAFA Cup despite playing in the big leagues in England and his goals return was impressive, stretching over some seven seasons. His hat-trick in 2004 against Swaziland were the final goals he scored in the regional championship.