14 December 2012

Zambia: Nation Stuns SA to Reach Finals

ZAMBIA stunned pre-tournament favourites, South Africa to reach the women's soccer finals of the 2012 Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) Zone Six Youth Games where they will fight for gold against Zimbabwe.

Second-half goals from Misozi Chisha and Hellen Mubanga were enough to secure the team's passage to the finals where they will play Zimbabwe, who beat Namibia 2-0 in a tie played at Sunset Stadium.

Zambia and Zimbabwe are assured of a medal but that will be decided on Sunday as to who wins gold and the silver medal, as Nkoloma Stadium will witness a third-place play-off between South Africa and Namibia.

Hosts Zambia started the match with a lot of promise and far much different from the team that lost her opening game to South Africa but had to endure a barren score going into half time.

The second half started where the first left off with Chisha giving her team the lead two minutes into the game after connecting a Mary Mwakapila pass.

South Africa started piling pressure in search of an equaliser but were caught napping when Mubanga finished off a pass from Mwakapila, who dribbled her way past the right flank to set up her teammate to double the score.

With a near capacity crowd cheering the home team, the mood was dampened when Swaziland referee Letticia Vienha awarded South Africa a penalty after Zambian goalkeeper Susan Nalwamba was adjudged to have brought down Thembi Kgatlane.

This was after Nalwamba had earlier spilled a Kgatlane effort and in a bid to make a double save on the South African who had raced into the box for the rebound, resulted in a foul and penalty.

South Africa's Megan Newman bravely stepped up to score the consolation goal in the 65th minute but that did not deter the Zambian team from attacking in search of the third gaol which nearly came save for the crossbar that denied Thandiwe Nkhata's header, off a Hellen Kelo's flick, from going in.

There was jubilation when the final whistle was blown as the players rejoiced what was a sweet victory over their regional rivals and the fans equally went wild in the stands predicting a gold medal for the team.

And Zambia coach Albert Kachinga said he was now aiming at winning a gold medal and showered praise on the team.

Kachinga said he was happy that the team kept improving the games played and that they remained focused to get the result off South Africa, who gave his team a tough match.

"The game was tough but the players played very well and we are now looking forward to the final. I think we prepared well for them as we worked on some mistakes observed in the past matches and it is nice to see the team improving everyday. We are now going for the big one 'gold medal'," Kachinga said.

South Africa coach Sheryl Botes said Zambia played better than her team.

Botes said the home side looked hungry for victory and that the team needed to be given credit for the good game.

She said her team would have prevented Zambia from scoring the first goal had it not been for the silly mistakes the defenders made which resulted in the goals.

She said her team was ready to face any team in the third-place play-off and would be comfortable with a bronze having been eliminated from the gold medal bracket.

"Zambia today (yesterday) really showed hunger for victory, they played well and the first goal they scored came from a silly mistake made by our defenders. We just have to be ready to play any team for a bronze medal," Botes said.

Playing today

Boys under-17: South Africa v Namibia (13:00 Hours - Nkoloma Stadium), Lesotho v Zambia (15:00 hours Nkoloma Stadium).

Zambia 2 South Africa 1

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