Africa: Namibia, Uganda Draw, While Zambia Thump Eswatini

30 September 2021

Ochumba Lubandji scored a hat-trick as Zambia began their 2021 COSAFA Women's Championship Group C campaign with a 5-0 victory over Eswatini at a wet and cold Madibaz Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay on Thursday.

Earlier in the day Namibia and East African guest nation Uganda played to a 0-0 draw in the opening match of what is likely to be a hotly contested pool.

Zambia, who were beaten finalists in 2019 and recently starred at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, will be pleased with their solid start to the tournament in difficult conditions. They opened the scoring midway through the first half via Lubandji, who headed home Margaret Belemu's cross.

Belemu then went from provider to scorer as she grabbed the second, firing in a rocket shot that left Sukoluhle Sibandze in the Eswatini goal with no chance.

And it was 3-0 with a little over 15 minutes to go when Lubandji scored her second, latching onto a shot from Grace Chanda and firing home from close range. Lubandji grabbed her hat-trick just two minutes later with another neat finish as Eswatini wilted in the face of relentless Zambia attacks.

The fifth goal duly arrived via substitute Esther Mukwasa, who shot low into the goal after Eswatini failed to clear.

Namibia and Uganda could not be separated in a tight game in which both sides had chances but lacked the clinical touch in the box. It is a point the favours neither side but does keep them in strong contention for the semifinals.

Attention turns back to Group A on Friday when the second round of matches are played in that pool.

Hosts and holders South Africa were below-par in their 2-1 victory over Malawi on Tuesday and will face Angola in their second game (kick-off 15h30).

Angola and Mozambique played to an entertaining 2-2 draw in their first match, so victory for South Africa could seal top spot in the pool with a game to go depending on the result earlier on.

That match will be played between Malawi and Mozambique (kick-off 12h00) with both sides desperate for a win to stay in contention.

With only the top team in each pool and the best placed runner-up among the three pools going through to the semifinals, the margin for error for all the sides is very small.

The teams are also building towards the 2022 Women's Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers that begin next month.

All matches will be streamed live on www.cosafa.tv and also available on SuperSport, with selected games to be shown on SABC.

You can also follow the action at www.cosafa.com, and our official Twitter and Facebook pages. - cosafa.com

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