South Africa were crowned 2018 MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championship winners after defeated Zimbabwe 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out after Thursday’s final finished 1-1 at the Nkana Stadium.
The South Africans retain the title they won last year to move to seven on the all-time winners list, one ahead of Zimbabwe but still behind Zambia’s 11 wins.
Goalkeeper and captain Khulekani Kubheka saved two spot-kicks in the shoot-out to seal the victory after an evenly contested final that could have gone either way.
Delic Murimba had given Zimbabwe a second half lead but the prolific Lyle Foster from scored for the fourth game running to level matters and leave both players top of the scorers list for the tournament with five goals and a share of the Golden Boot.
Foster had an excellent chance to give South Africa the lead just before the half-hour mark, showing his immense strength to burst through the Zimbabwe defenders, but clipping the ball side of the post.
But it was Zimbabwe who broke the deadlock, a poor back-pass from Nkosingiphile Ngcobo giving Murimba the opportunity to chip goalkeeper Kubheka. It was also the first goal South Africa had conceded in Zambia.
South Africa thought they had levelled when Zimbabwe substitute goalkeeper Frank Kuchineyi spilled a routine shot and Ngcobo turned the ball home.
The assistant referee lifted his flag for offside though with that looked a very tight call.
Amajita were level on 84 minutes though and it was Foster again to the rescue again, as Player of the Tournament Promise Mkhuma controlled a ball into the box and put it on a plate for the Monaco-bound striker.
The game then went to penalties with Kubheka making saves from unlucky Zimbabwe takers Leonard Jani and Clive Rupiya
Angola claimed the bronze medal when they staged a late fight-back to defeat Zambia 2-1 in the third-place play-off.
It is the best result for the Angolans since they also finished third in 2013, and came after they scored twice in the final 10 minutes of the game at the Nkana Stadium.
Zambia took the lead shortly after halftime through Emmanuel Mwiinde and it looked as though they would hold on for the win until they were rocked by a double-strike from Angola.
Adalmiro Da Silva levelled the score with just nine minutes remaining on the clock and while Zambia were still re-organising themselves after that set-back, the Young Palancas Negras struck the winner through the influential Zito Luvumbo.
Mkhuma was named Player of the Tournament, while the Golden Boot was shared between Foster and Murimba.
Zimbabwe gloveman Tinotenda Ali was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament and Zambia won the Fair Play Award.
Angola 2 (Da Silva 81′, Luvumbo 83′)Zambia 1 (Mwiinde 47′)
South African 1 (Foster 84’) Zimbabwe 1 (Murimba 65’) – SA win 4-3 on pens
Group A P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Zambia (Q) 3 2 1 0 5 1 +4 7
Mozambique 3 1 2 0 3 2 +1 5
DR Congo 3 1 0 2 3 4 -1 3
Malawi 3 0 0 3 2 6 -4 1
Group B P W D L GF GA GD Pts
South Africa (Q) 2 2 0 0 9 0 +9 6
Mauritius 2 1 0 1 4 5 -1 3
Eswatini 2 0 0 2 0 8 -8 0
Group C P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Zimbabwe (Q) 3 2 0 1 7 5 +2 6
Angola (Q) 3 1 2 0 5 2 +3 5
Botswana 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
Lesotho 3 0 1 2 1 6 -5 1
Matches Played: 19
Goals scored: 50
Biggest victory: South Africa 5 Mauritius 0 (Group B, December 3)
Most goals in a game: 5 – South Africa 5 Mauritius 0 (Group B, December 3); Zimbabwe 1 Angola 4 (Group C, December 9)
5 goals – Lyle Foster (South Africa), Delic Murimba (Zimbabwe)
4 – Prince Mumba (Zambia)
3 –Daniel Liberal (Angola)
2 – James Monyane (South Africa), Junior Nyamuziwa (Zimbabwe)
1 –Adamo Alifa (Mozambique), Jean Aristide (Mauritius), Peter Banda (Malawi), Chikaiko Batison (Malawi), Tseliso Botsane (Lesotho), Geny Catamo (Mozambique), Edward Chilufya (Zambia), Kamo-Kamo Cumbane (Mozambique), Adalmiro Da Silva (Angola), Fernando Duarte (Angola), Adrien Francois (Mauritius), Fasika Idumba (DR Congo), Benson Kolala (Zambia), Luke le Roux (South Africa), Zito Luvumbo (Angola), Andrew Mbeba (Zimbabwe), Promise Mkhuma (South Africa), Ludovic Milazar (Mauritius), Jelson Mivo (Angola), Jackson Muleka (DR Congo), Emmanuel Mwiinde (Zambia), Nkosingiphile Ngcobo (South Africa), Mbala Nsingi (DR Congo), Jean Roussety (Mauritius), Blessing Sarupinda (Zimbabwe), Resaobaka Thatanyane