There will be a new champion crowned at the 2019 COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship after Mozambique and Zambia won through to the decider with semifinal victories at the Mpira Stadium in Blantyre, Malawi on Friday.
Mozambique defeated Eswatini 1-0, before 2017 winners Zambia ousted defending champions Angola 2-0 in the second Last 4 match.
The fixtures were once again played in front of an impressive crowd with no shortage of support from expatriates in the crowd in what was a lively atmosphere.
Mozambique and Zambia clash in the final at the same venue at 14h30 local time (12h30 GMT) on Sunday, whole Eswatini and Angola contest the bronze-medal match at 11h00 (09h00).
Angola have a much-changed team at the tournament this year with the bulk of the 2018 squad currently preparing for the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Brazil.
Impressive beanpole striker Valdemiro Domingos was a threat throughout for Angola with his neat play and his deft header needed some smart work from Zambia goalkeeper Iford Mwale.
But the closest we came to a goal in the first half was a header from Zambian forward Rickson Ng’ambi that crashed against the crossbar and was scrambled clear by Angola.
But Moses Mulenga also wasted an excellent one-on-one opportunity in the dying seconds of the half when he showed good strength to beat off the attention of a defender and found himself one-on-one with Cristovao Catungue, but skewed his short horribly wide.
Zambia did not have to wait long into the second period to get their goal though as just 20 seconds in Joseph Banda’s low cross was turned into the back of the net by Ng’ambi.
Peter Chikola then forced a good save from Catungue with a rasping shot that was tipped over the crossbar, before Angola thought they should have had a penalty.
Domingos’ goal-bound shot struck the arm of Zambian defender Miguel Chaiwa and seconds later the ball was scrambled off the line, but referee Masixole Bambiso waved play on, turning down the Angolan appeals.
The win was confirmed deep into injury-time when Mulenga’s shot was too powerful for Catungue and settled in the corner of the net.
Earlier, Simon Cipriano scored his fifth goal of the competition to send Mozambique into the final in what was a game of few chances in the earlier kick-off.
Cipriano, who netted four goals in Tuesday’s 4-1 victory over Lesotho, and was on target again after just 10 minutes against Eswatini as he converted a loose ball in the box.
Eswatini goalkeeper Siyabonga Magagula spilled a shot from Kenesse Mubaba and Cipriano reacted quickest to the loose ball.
Eswatini spent much of the remainder of the match searching for the equaliser, but found clear-cut chances tough to come by and they almost got reward in the final minute of injury-time at the end of the game.
Colani Dvuba sent in a cross that was misjudged by Angola goalkeeper Kimiss Zavala. Defender Aylton Zerefos tried to clear but the ball hit the crossbar and Elton Tembe had to clear to safety!
In the end one goal was enough to see the Young Mambas into the final as they seek a first trophy win at this age-group.
Mozambique 1 (Cipriano 10’) Eswatini 0
Zambia 2 (Ng’ambi 46’, Mulenga 90’) Angola 0
11h00: Eswatini vs Angola – Mpira Stadium
14h30: Mozambique vs Zambia – Mpira Stadium
Matches Played: 14
Goals scored: 43
Biggest victory: South Africa 0 Zambia 7 (Group A, October 14)
Most goals in a game: 7 – South Africa 0 Zambia 7 (Group A, October 14)
5 goals – Simon Cipriano (Mozambique)
4 – Rickson Ng’ambi (Zambia), Moses Mulenga (Zambia)
2 – Peter Chikola (Zambia), Francisco Chiquinho (Angola), Miguel Chirwa (Zambia), Charles Mumba (Zambia), Dave Tobias (Malawi)
1 – Jose Antonio (Angola), Joseph Banda (Zambia), Valdemiro Domingos (Angola), Colani Dvuba (Eswatini), Rivaldo Fonseca (Angola), Julius Kumwenda (Zambia), Kamal Kifli (Comoros), Frank Mahowa (Malawi), Mpendulo Makhanya (Eswatini), Thabang Mahlangu (South Africa), Moqolisi Mothae (Lesotho), Andre Muhongo (Angola), Lasmond Phiri (Zambia), Noel Sakala (Malawi), Chikumbutso Salima (Malawi), Taemane Shea (Lesotho), Chipyoka Songa (Zambia), Mike Thomu (Malawi), Aylot Zerefos (Mozambique), Khayalethu Zitha (Eswatini)