South Africa and Madagascar advanced to the semifinals of the 2019 COSAFA Men’s Under-20 Championship after both claimed victories in their final Group B matches in Lusaka, Zambia on Tuesday.
South Africa top the pool with seven points, ahead of Madagascar on goal-difference only, with the latter advancing to the knockout stages as the best runner-up from the three pools.
And the teams will meet again in the first of the semifinals on Thursday, with Zambia and Angola to contest the other Last 4 fixture.
South Africa defeated Lesotho 4-0 to seal top spot in the pool, another solid performance from the side.
They were ahead on 20 minutes when Sinenjongo Mkiva netted his third goal of the tournament, before Rahim Milazi added a second just two minutes later.
Captain Lancaster Human blasted the ball into the net from an extremely tight angle to make the points safe, and they added a fourth just after halftime through Keletso Sifama.
Madagascar were made to sweat by Mauritius in their final Group B encounter, despite taking a 2-0 halftime lead.
Randianantenaina Arnaud and Aristide Ranaivo Harison set them on their way to what looked a certain victory, but Mauritius pulled a goal back with 20 minutes remaining to set up a nervous finish.
But Madagascar were able to hold on and are now one step away from another final after claiming a surprise victory in this tournament in 2005.
The semifinals see South Africa clash with Madagascar (kick-off 12h00) just four days after they met in the pool stages and played to a 1-1 draw.
On that occasion Avizara Soloniaina put the Malagasy in front early in the second period, but Mkiva equalised late on to claim a draw for the South Africans.
Both sides would have learnt a lot from that encounter, so it will come down to who can execute better on the day.
The other semifinal between Zambia and Angola (15h30) pits two sides together who had 100 percent records in the pool stages, winning all three of their group games.
Angola looked imperious as they topped Group C, scoring 13 goals and conceding only one, while Zambia were equally impressive in Group A.
The Zambians are hoping to lift the title for the first time since 2016, while Angola can reach their first final since 2011. The Young Palancas Negras have been to four previous deciders in this age-group, but never lifted the trophy.
General entrance tickets cost K10.00 and are valid for all matches played on the day. There is also a VIP option available for at a cost of K50.00. Tickets in both categories are on sale at Computicket in all Shoprite outlets nationwide.
You can follow all the action LIVE on COSAFATV by following this link.
South Africa 4 (Mkiva 20′, Milazi 22′, Human 41′, Sifama 51’) Lesotho 0
Madagascar 2 (Arnaud 6′, Ranaivo Harison 35′) Mauritius 1 (Moutou 70’)
12h00 (10h00 GMT): South Africa vs Madagascar – Nkoloma Stadium
15h30 (13h30 GMT): Zambia vs Angola – Nkoloma Stadium
Group A P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Zambia (Q) 3 3 0 0 9 1 +8 9
Malawi 3 1 1 1 7 4 +3 4
Botswana 3 1 1 1 4 8 -4 4
Comoros 3 0 0 3 1 8 -7 0
Group B P W D L GF GA GD Pts
South Africa (Q) 3 2 1 0 10 1 +9 7
Madagascar (Q) 3 2 1 0 6 2 +4 7
Mauritius 3 0 1 2 3 9 -6 1
Lesotho 3 0 1 2 2 9 -7 1
Group C P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Angola (Q) 3 3 0 0 13 1 +12 9
Eswatini 3 2 0 1 5 4 +1 6
Mozambique 3 1 0 2 3 5 -2 3
Seychelles 3 0 0 3 2 13 -11 0
Matches Played: 18
Goals scored: 65
Biggest victory: Angola 8 Seychelles 0 (Group C, December 4)
Most goals in a game: 8 – Angola 8 Seychelles 0 (Group C, December 4)
4 goals – Ambrosini Salvador (Angola)
3 – Tangu Gastão (Angola), Sinenjongo Mkiva (South Africa), Patrick Mwaungulu (Malawi), Francisco Mwepu (Zambia)
2 – Miguèl Afonso (Angola), Oswin Appollis (South Africa), Randianantenaina Arnaud (Madagascar), Tseliso Botsane (Lesotho), Phaza Chose (Botswana), Romao Joao (Mozambique), Francisco Madinga (Malawi), Jimmy Mukeya (Zambia), Majahesibili Ndlovu (Eswatini)
1 – David Aristide (Mauritius), Ricky Banda (Zambia), Kelsun Brutus (Seychelles), Doctor David (Botswana), Fernando dos Santos (Angola), Brandon Fanchette (Seychelles), Lancaster Human (South Africa), Elliot Kampukesa (Zambia), Santos Kiaku (Angola), Kaone Kolagano (Botswana), Wenzile Lushaba (Eswatini), Golden Mafwenta (Zambia), Benedito Manjate (Mozambique), Chinsinsi Maonga (Malawi), Camilo Mbulu (Angola), Athenkosi Mcaba (South Africa), Raicardo Menakely (Madagascar), Rahim Milazi (South Africa), Keagan Mitchell (South Africa), Youssouf Mohamed (Comoros Islands), Percy Moutou (Mauritius), Melono Muondo Dala (Angola), Crawford Mwaba (Zambia), Lanjesi Nkhoma (Malawi), Aristide Ranaivo Harison (Madagascar), Steward Roussety (Mauritius), Keletso Sifama (South Africa), Rafizy Todisoa (Madagascar), Lindokuhle Zwane (Eswatini)