elvin Phiri’s second half goal was enough for Zambia to claim a 1-0 victory over South Africa in the final of the TotalEnergies U17 AFCON Algeria 2023 | COSAFA Qualifier played at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Sunday.
It was revenge for Zambia after South Africa had beaten them in the final of the COSAFA Girls’ Under-17 Championship played earlier in the day as it was honours shared between the two in the football competitions that were played as part of the Region 5 Games Lilongwe 2022.
Phiri bundled the ball over the line on the hour mark to help his side to the Boys’ trophy and a second victory in the competition over the South Africans after they beat them by the same scoreline in the group stages.
It is third time lucky for Zambia after they had to be content with a silver medal in 2020 and 2021.
By reaching the final, both sides qualify for the TotalEnergies U17 AFCON Algeria 2023 that will be played in April, keeping them potentially on course for a place in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Peru later next year.
Earlier, Malawi picked up the bronze medal in the Boys’ competition with a thumping 5-2 win over Botswana.
Webster Mzunda scored a hattrick as the hosts claimed the handsome victory, though they were pushed by Botswana until the very end.
South Africa striker Siyabonga Mabena claimed both the Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament awards for his nine goals in Lilongwe, while compatriot Gennaro Johnson won the Golden Glove for best goalkeeper. Botswana claimed the Fair Play award.
Meanwhile, South Africa claimed a maiden victory in the final of the COSAFA Girls’ Under-17 Championship as they edged a seven-goal thriller in one of the best matches since the competition was first played in 2019.
Zambia had hoped to defend their title won in Maseru last year, but despite leading twice in the match eneded up on the losing side.
Sinazo Ntshota put South Africa ahead inside two minutes but Lucy Kajiya headed Zambia level. They then took the lead when Jessy Zulu fired in a powerful shot off the bar.
Nobahle Mdelwa got her sixth of the campaign to draw South Africa level with a superb free-kick that she curled into the net.
That was the way it stayed through halftime, but Zambia were back in front on 50 minutes when Zangose Zulu blasted the ball into the roof of the net.
But when Ntshota grabbed her second midway through the second period, it was game on and the momentum with the South Africans.
And they grabbed the winner on 84 minutes when Andrielle Mibe rounded the goalkeeper to slot the ball into the back of the net for a memorable win.
Malawi had on Saturday collected the bronze medal in the Girls’ competiton when they thumped Botswana 9-0 in the play-off game.
Ntshota was named Player of the Tournament , while the Golden Glove for best goalkeeper went to her compatriot Casey Gordon.
The Golden Boot for leading scorer was won by Malawi’s Rose Kadzere after she netted eight times in the competition. Zambia picked up the Fair Play award.
It ends South Africa’s wait to lift the title after previous wins for Uganda (2019), Tanzania (2020) and Zambia (2021).
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