Zambia and Malawi Secure Spots in COSAFA Women’s Championship Final

In Friday’s first Hollywoodbets COSAFA Women’s Championship semi-final, Zimbabwe’s Copper Queens secured a narrow 1-0 win over a resurgent Zimbabwe after the teams were locked at 0-all at halftime. Photo: COSAFA on X

The defending champions, Zambia, are set to face Malawi in the final of the 2023 Hollywoodbets COSAFA Women’s Championship, scheduled for Sunday at the Lucas Moripe Stadium. 

This follows their respective victories over Zimbabwe and Mozambique in the semi-finals, which took place at the same venue on Friday.

In the first semi-final, the Copper Queens secured a narrow 1-0 win over a resurgent Zimbabwe. 

Coach Florence Nkatya’s side had previously topped Group B with seven points, while Zimbabwe, making their return to international competition following the lifting of their FIFA ban, also finished atop Group C with seven points. Notably, Zimbabwe boasted the best defensive record in the group stage, conceding just once.

Zambia and Malawi Book Spots in COSAFA Women’s Championship Final

The semi-final proved to be a closely contested encounter, with both teams from the northern region sizing each other up during the opening half. The first 10 minutes saw no clear goal-scoring opportunities.

The intensity of the match increased, with Zimbabwe earning a free kick from distance after 20 minutes. Vimbai Mharadzi took the free kick, but Zambia’s goalkeeper, Letisha Lungu, who was the only change in the starting XI, handled it well, resulting in a follow-up corner that the Mighty Warriors couldn’t capitalise on.

Fridah Kabwe had a chance to give Zambia the lead shortly after, but her shot missed the target. Sarah Jere also had an opportunity to open the scoring, but her attempt lacked power. Zimbabwe suffered a setback when their scorer from the previous group match, Ennety Chemhere, was forced off due to injury at the half-hour mark.

Zimbabwe won a set-piece three minutes later, but Lungu’s alertness allowed her to punch the ball away and deny Zimbabwe the lead. Privilege Mupeti came close to breaking the deadlock in injury time during the first half, but her attempt was skilfully dealt with by the vigilant Lungu, who once again demonstrated her prowess between the goalposts.

Zambia Edge Zimbabwe in Closely Contested Semi-Final

At halftime, the match remained deadlocked at 0-0, with both teams creating scoring opportunities. Rudo Neshmaba made a notable attempt to break the tie, leaving the score level.

It wasn’t until six minutes into the second half that Sarah Jere, with her fourth goal of the tournament, managed to break the deadlock, securing the ultimate winning goal that propelled Zambia into the final.

Pauline Zulu had an opportunity to extend the lead around the hour mark, but her shot struck the woodwork. In the same sequence, she was fouled, and this resulted in a free kick for the Copper Queens. 

Esther Siamfuko stepped up, but Cynthia Shonga displayed immense courage to block the free-kick, preventing Zambia from gaining a cushion goal. In a dramatic moment towards the end of the match, Zambia’s last line of defence was caught off guard, prompting the ZESCO United goalkeeper to make an urgent save, maintaining the score at 1-0.

Malawi in Come-From-Behind Win

In the second semi-final, Malawi secured their place in the final with a late 2-1 victory over Mozambique. The Scorchers, who had scored 15 goals previously, were considered favourites, and Temwa Chawinga’s late brace brought their total to 17 goals.

Malawi controlled possession but struggled to find the net in the first half. However, seven minutes before halftime, Cina Manuel initiated an attacking move, with Lonica Tsanwane waiting in the box. Unfortunately, Benadetta Mkandawawire accidentally put the ball into her own net, giving Mozambique the lead in the first half.

In the second half, Malawi intensified their efforts in search of an equaliser, and they found it in the final 15 minutes. The tournament’s leading goal scorer, Temwa Chawingwa, punished the Mozambicans with two quick goals, leaving little hope for a comeback for Luis Fumo’s team.

On this historic day, Video Assistant Referee (VAR) made its debut at a COSAFA tournament, the match officials exhibited exceptional performance, and there was no requirement to resort to technology for decision-making clarity.

COSAFA Women’s Championship

Hollywoodbets COSAFA Women’s Championship Results on Friday, 13 October 2023

Semi-Finals:

Zambia 1-0 Zimbabwe 
Malawi 2-1 Mozambique

Hollywoodbets COSAFA Women’s Championship Fixtures at the Lucas Moripe Stadium, on Sunday, 15 October, 2023:

FINAL:

Zambia vs Malawi


Main Photo Caption: In Friday’s first Hollywoodbets COSAFA Women’s Championship semi-final, Zimbabwe’s Copper Queens secured a narrow 1-0 win over a resurgent Zimbabwe after the teams were locked at 0-all at halftime. Photo: COSAFA on X

Photo 2 Caption: Six minutes into the second half Zambia managed to break the deadlock, securing the ultimate winning goal that propelled them into the final. Photo: COSAFA on X

Photo 3 Caption: In the second semi-final, Malawi secured their place in the final with a late 2-1 victory over Mozambique. Photo: COSAFA on X

Photo 4 Caption: The tournament’s leading goal scorer, Temwa Chawingwa, punished the Mozambicans with two quick goals, leaving little hope for a comeback for Luis Fumo’s team Photo: COSAFA on X

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