South Africa and Botswana will contest the COSAFA Cup Plate final on Friday, a repeat of the main Cup decider in 2016 that was won by a youthful Bafana Bafana.
South Africa stormed into the 2018 final with a 4-1 beating of Namibia on Tuesday thanks to a brace from midfielder Lebohang Maboe, while Botswana defeated Swaziland 2-0 as prolific forward Onkabetse Makgantai netted yet again to send his side through.
It means the two nations will clash for the fourth COSAFA Cup competition in a row as South Africa seek to retain the Plate trophy they won on home soil in 2017.
The decider will be staged on Friday at the New Peter Mokaba Stadium at 17h00 (15h00 GMT).
After showing disappointing form in front of goal in the quarterfinal loss to Madagascar on Sunday, South Africa were much more clinical on Tuesday.
Aubrey Modiba scored their first from the penalty-spot on 26 minutes after a handball by Namibia’s Vitapi Ngaruka, and they were 2-0 ahead three minutes later as Ryan Moon fed Maboe in the box and he supplied a cool finish.
Namibia hit back five minutes before the break when substitute Absalom Iimbondi provided a perfect chipped pass over the back of the Bafana Bafana defence and South African-based Hotto planted a fine volley passed Pieterse.
With that goal Hotto moved past Namibia legend Johannes ‘Congo’ Hindjou as the leading scorer for the country in the COSAFA Cup competition with his sixth.
But that Namibian joy was short-lived as more excellent work from Gift Links created a shooting chance for Maboe, who’s effort from 14-yards was deflected in.
South Africa’s fourth arrived on 53 minutes when a free-kick was flicked on and Mbaeva could only palm the ball into the path of Xulu to score at the back post.
Botswana had the lead inside eight minutes as tournament top-scorer Makgantai grabbed a fifth of the competition as he blasted the ball home after being given too much time in the box.
The goal also made Makgantai Botswana’s leading all-time scorer in the COSAFA Cup, having now managed one more than teammate Kabelo Seakanyeng.
In a match of few opportunities, neither goalkeeper had much work to do after that as he teams battled to create clear-cut chances and Botswana added a late second through Gape Mohutsiwa’s header in what was their fifth game in nine days.
The main Cup semifinals will be played on Wednesday when Zambia take on Madagascar (KO 17h00 local, 15h00 GMT) and then Lesotho clash with defending champions Zimbabwe (KO 19h30 local, 17h30 GMT).
Both games will be played on the slick surface at the New Peter Mokaba Stadium and promise to be exciting encounters with all four sides confident they can lift the trophy.
Namibia 1 (Hotto 40’) South Africa 4 (Aubrey Modiba 26’ pen, Lebogang Maboe 29’, 41’, Siyanda Xulu 53’)
Swaziland 0 Botswana 2 (Onkabetse Makgantai 8’, Gape Mohutsiwa 90’)
Zambia vs Madagascar (KO 17h00 local, 15h00 GMT) – New Peter Mokaba Stadium
Lesotho vs Zimbabwe (KO 19h30 local, 17h30 GMT) – New Peter Mokaba Stadium
Matches Played: 18
Goals scored: 37
Biggest victory: Botswana 6 Mauritius 0 (Group B, June 1)
Most goals in a game: 6 – Botswana 6 Mauritius 0 (Group B, June 1)
5 goals – Onkabetse Makgantai (Botswana)
3 goals –Luis Miquissone (Mozambique), Kabelo Seakanyeng (Botswana)
2 goals – Joatombo Bourahim (Madagascar), Jeitoso (Mozambique), Lebohang Maboe (South Africa)
1 goal –Kaporal (Angola), Mohamed M’changama (Comoros Islands), Andriamirado Andrianarimanana, Tokifandresena Andriamanjato (both Madagascar), Precious Sambani (Malawi), Damien Balisson (Mauritius), Leeroy Coralie, Eric Miellie, Elijah Tamboo (all Seychelles), Karabo Phiri, Thatayaone Kgamanyane, Tshepo Maikano, Gape Mohutsiwa (all Botswana), Motebang Sera (Lesotho), Evans Rusike (Zimbabwe), Aubrey Modiba, Siyanda Xulu (both South Africa), Deon Hotto (Namibia)
1 own goal –Emmanuel Vincent (Mauritius v Angola)