By reaching Sunday’s final, South Africa and Zambia have earned their place at the Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations that is scheduled to be played in Morocco next year.
Chances were aplenty for both sides in their clash on Thursday with Christopher Musonda charging in and crossing into an open goalmouth in the eighth minute with the South Africa defender Akhanyile Norowana on his heals, but teammate in Frank Chileshe was none the wiser as he missed out on a chance for the opener.
South Africa had a chance on the half-hour mark, Mduduzi Shabalala taking a corner short before tucking back in and into the opponent’s 18-yard with the Zambia defence looking nearly relenting to gift Shabalala the goal, only for keeper Njovu to rush quickly off his line to block the ball.
A docile first stanza drew to a close with both outfits not profiting from the few chances created. The goal finally came in the 84th minute when the young Chipolopolo’s hat-trick hero from the last match, Joseph Banda, yet again finding himself in the mix.
His combination play with Rickson Ng’ambi was to thank after the latter crossed in from the right of the South African goal-face to find him alert; making no mistake as he calmly prodded home, beating Erasmus for the goal.
The third-place play-off will be between Malawi and Angola, who featured in the second game on Thursday at The Oval.
Angola were handsome 3-0 winners to finish third on the table pipping Malawi to that spot.
But the Young Flames are still in with a chance of picking up the bronze medal if they can get some revenge on Angola on Saturday.
The Malawians were made to pay for conceding three goals in 12 first half minutes. Vicente Domingos scored a neat opener for Angola on the half-hour mark to get them under way.
The result was more or less settled when Custódio Hequele added two more in two minutes before halftime which proved a knockout blow for Malawi.
And Custódio claimed his hat-trick midway through the second period when he added a fourth from the penalty-spot as Angola took firm control.
Angola were reduced to 10 players when Tadeu Gabriel received a straight red card for an off-the-ball push, a decision that appeared a harsh one.
Malawi pulled a goal back after that as Samson Zakeyu grabbed his second of the tournament, but Angola were not finished as Armindo Canji added a fifth and Alexandre Cucao and Osvaldo Inga rounded out the scoring.
The teams will meet again in the curtain-raiser to Sunday’s final at 10am, while the clash between Zambia and South Africa is at 3pm.
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