Zachariah Chilongoshi of Zambia challenged by Masilake Phohlongo of South Africa during the 2021 COSAFA Cup match between South Africa and Zambia at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, on 14 July 2021 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Wednesday Jul 14, 2021. 17:24
South Africa will enter the knockout stages of the 2021 COSAFA Cup as the only unbeaten team left in the tournament following a 0-0 draw against Zambia at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha on Wednesday afternoon.
Zambia, who needed a win to keep their hopes of defending the title they won in 2019 alive, were duly dumped out of the tournament and will return to Lusaka following a disastrous trip to the Eastern Cape province as pressure continues to mount on Chipolopolo head coach Milutin Sredojevic.
Bafana Bafana ended top of Group A having yet to concede a goal in the regional tournament after four matches.
South Africa dominated the early exchanges of the encounter despite having made eight changes to the team that thumped Lesotho 4-0 on Tuesday.
The first notable shot in anger fell at Masilake Phohlongo’s feet in the 20th minute. The TS Galaxy winger cut in from the right flank but pushed his left-footed shot wide of goal.
Zambia finally conjured a shot at goal on the cusp of half-time. Augustine Mulenga found Salulani Phiri with a pin-point cross inside the area but the latter could only succeed in guiding his header attempt off target.
Sredojevic pulled off the free-scoring Justin Shonga for Kelvin Kampamba with 20 minutes remaining and the change almost paid immediate dividends. The forward’s rasping shot was dropped by Lincoln Vyver in the Bafana Bafana goal, but the Cape Town Spurs shot-stopper reacted in time to snatch the rebound with Gampani Lungu lurking.
Eager to test the young goalkeeper and desperately searching for the breakthrough, Zambia pushed forward in the closing stages of the match and the defending champions looked sure to score when Lungu hit a crisp half-volley on target in stoppage-time, but the impressive Njabulo Ngcobo was well positioned to make a timely block.
South Africa will face Mozambique for a place in the final.
South Africa (0) 0
Zambia (0) 0
South Africa: Vyver; Ngobeni, Ngcobo, Sibiya (Dube 74′), Mphahlele, Konqobe (Sithebe 62′), Maart, Maboe (De Reuck 74′), Phohlongo (Saleng 46′), Sibanyoni, Malinga (Letsoalo 62′)
Zambia: Mweene (Sanjase 46′); Chilongoshi, Chanda, Kabaso, Chepeshi, Chama, S.Phiri, Kabwe (Mwila 61′), M. Phiri (Lungu 61′), Mulenga (Sautu 80′), Shonga (Kampamba 69′).