Brave Warriors cruise into Plate Final clash against Zambia
Hosts Namibia will meet Zambia in the final of the Plate competition at the 2016 COSAFA Castle Cup having come through their Last four matches at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek on Tuesday.
Namibia brushed aside 10-man Mozambique 3-0 in their semifinal, after Zambia had edged Lesotho 3-2 in one of the games of the tournament so far.
They will now clash in Friday’s final for the Plate trophy, which would provide some consolation for unexpected quarterfinal exits in the Cup competition.
Mozambique captain Apson Manjate, otherwise known as Sonito, was sent off after just two minutes and seven seconds of the game after he pushed at the neck of Denzil Haoseb having been unhappy at a challenge from the Namibian defender.
Referee Simanga Nhleko of Swaziland consulted with his assistants and decided to issue the red card.
What followed was a virtual siege of the Mozambique goal by the hosts in the first half as they pushed for an opener, but a mix of rushed final balls and poor finishing meant the teams went into the break with the score at 0-0.
The breakthrough for Namibia did come five minutes into the second period as Deon Hotto found space on the left-hand side of the box and his low cross was turned home by Itamunua Keimuine.
Namibia continued to pour forward and it was 2-0 when Hotto got behind the Mozambique defenders and used his pace to steam forward and crash the ball past Nelson Logomale in the Mozambique goal.
The Mambas were run ragged by now and it was no surprise when substitute Hendrick Somaeb provided a third for Namibia as he ghosted between two defenders and slotted the ball in the back of the net.
Zambia booked their place in the Plate Final with a thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Lesotho.
The Zambians were ahead on 14 minutes as Paul Ketema headed home a corner, but Lesotho equalised on the stroke of halftime through a magnificent free-kick from Phafa Tsosane.
And it looked as though Lesotho had turned the game in their favour when captain Basia Makepe put them 2-1 in front with a header on 54 minutes.
But Zambia continued to pour forward in waves and the pressure finally took its toll.
First Spencer Sautu blasted the ball into the back of the net from just outside the penalty area for another stunning goal, before Charles Zulu had Chipolopolo in front with a wonderful finish after he collected a long ball from Ketema and provided a neat finish.
Wednesday will see the main Cup competitions semifinals played with the first an intriguing battle between South Africa’s Under-23 side and in-form Swaziland.
The Swazis have been in fine form in 2016 and with Felix Badenhorst having already scored five goals in this tournament – and unlucky not to get a sixth in the quarterfinal win over Zambia – there is plenty of danger for the young South Africans.
The latter were less than convincing in getting past Lesotho in the Last 8 and coach Shakes Mashaba will expect a much improved performance.
The second semifinal sees African Nations Championship winners DR Congo play Botswana, who knocked out hosts Namibia in the quarterfinals.
The Congolese looked the most polished of the performers in the quarterfinals despite not having their TP Mazembe players to call on with the club competing in the African Champions League.
Botswana were competitive in their quarterfinal but will do well to hold the expansive Congolese.
The winner of Wednesday’s semifinals play in the deciding match on Saturday at the Sam Nujoma Stadium at 17h30. The losers play for the bronze medal on the same day and venue at 15h00.