Zimbabwe Crowned COSAFA Castle Cup Champions
Zimbabwe was crowned COSAFA Champions after a well deserved 3-1 win over Zambia at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, on Sunday.
With a record fifth title, a possibility for each side, with Zambia eager to avoid a record fifth Finals defeat, stakes were high going into the game.
Zimbabwe has been the highest scoring team in the tournament with 19 goals but six games in 14 days meant Zambia went into the quarter-final stage with less fatigued prior to the game.
Zimbabwe’s Knox Mutizwa headed home the opener in the 22nd minute after beating Zambia’s keeper Chibwe, to the ball to take his tally to five in the tournament.
Six minutes to the break, substitute Lubinda Mundia made an immediate impact scoring with his first touch less than a minute after coming on to make it 1-1.
After the break, Zimbabwe who was expected to fade away as a result of a packed schedule kept pushing forward and trying to re-establish dominance in most of the second half.
Zimbabwe’s relentless attacks finally paid off in the 55th minute thanks to Chawapiwa who kept his calm to convert Mutizwa’s rebounded header.
Zimbabwe’s Talent Mushure then sealed the game in the 67th minute, firing home a sweet shot from just inside Zambia’s box to make the score 3-1.
Zimbabwe now leads in COSAFA titles with five, one more than Zambia and South Africa. Zimbabwe’s captain Ovidy Karuru finished as top scorer with six goals, followed by teammate Knox Mutizwa with five.
The win meant Veteran coach Sunday Chidzambwa will continue his unbeaten run in the tournament which he has won three times (2003, 2009, and 2017) and is yet to lose a match with 13 wins and 2 draws, while in charge.
Tanzania beat Lesotho 4-2 on penalties to finish third while this year’s hosts South Africa, beat Namibia 1-0 to win a fourth place Plate trophy.
Zimbabwe will collect R 500 000, the runners-up Zambia will take home R 250 0000 while third and fourth place take home R 150 000 and R 100 000 respectively.
Featured Photo: BBC Images