Tuesday Jul 13, 2021. 17:45
Chipolopolo Zambia beat Botswana 2-1 at Wolfson Stadium on Tuesday to keep their very slim hopes of 2021 COSAFA Cup semifinal qualification alive.
The victory handed Chipolopolo coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic his first points of the 2021 COSAFA Cup following two opening Group A setbacks starting with a 2-1 loss to Lesotho on July 8 and 1-0 defeat at the hands of Eswatini on July 10.
Micho also made two changes to his starting XI when he started defender Isaac Shamujomba in place of the suspended Kabaso Chongo.
First choice Kennedy Mweene today stepped aside for his understudy goalkeeper Gregory Sanjase to make his COSAFA Cup debut.
Chipolopolo were a much more polished item on Tuesday with Kelvin Mubanga and Augustine Mulenga dictating play while Botswana chased the game and they took a deserved first half lead in the 21st minute through Justin Shonga.
Zambia almost went into the break with a healthy lead in the 40th minute but Botswana goalkeeper Ezekiel Morake flapped out a diagonal effort from the right wing fired by Augustine Mulenga.
But Botswana put Zambia on the back-foot heading into the hour mark and in the 61st minute leveled through Thatayaone Kgamanyane.
Two minutes later, Roderick Kabwe swept in one of his curling trademark free kicks but his set-piece sailed inches wide of its intended final destination.
The Zebras, though, still felt they too could also collect a COSAFA Cup big-kill of their own to emulate Lesotho and Eswatini.
However, Chipolopolo had Sanjase to thank in the 68th minute when Tumisang Orebonye crept through defenders Adrian Chama and Shamujomba but the Young green Eagles stopper put his body on the line to deny the Botswana striker his fourth goal of this tournament.
Relief for Zambia came in the 81st minute when Mothusi Johnson floored Gamphani Lungu in the box and referee Thulani Sibandze pointed to the spot.
Shonga stepped up to convert the resultant penalty to complete his brace and take home the man of the match award on top of increasing his tally to three goals for the tournament.
The win keeps Zambia mathematically in the race heading into Wednesday’s crunch date against Group A leaders Bafana Bafana South Africa.
Bafana have qualified to the semifinals after beating Lesotho 4-0 in their simultaneous kick off played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.