Zambia and Botswana played to a 0-0 draw in Group B at the 2019 COSAFA Women’s Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay on Tuesday, a result that ensured both advanced to the semifinals.
Zambia top the pool on seven points, ahead of Botswana only on goal-difference, with the Mares advancing as the best-placed runner-up. It means the pair will meet again in the semifinals on Thursday.
Hosts South Africa will take on Zimbabwe in the other Last 4 clash.
The unlucky team to miss out are Malawi, who would have watched from their hotel as Zambia missed a host of gilt-edged chances to gain the win. Had there been a winner in the fixture then the She-Flames would have advanced.
The best chance fell to Zambian forward Rachel Nachula, who had a penalty to put her side in front with 15 minutes to go, but put the effort three metres wide of the goal in a massive miss.
Nachula’s dismal effort meant she spurned the chance to move to nine goals in the tournament and take the outright leadership of the scorers race.
In the other match in the pool, Namibia thumped Mauritius 8-0 to end their tournament on a high.
Skipper Zenatha Coleman scored four goals as she led from the front, while there were also goals for Beverly Uueziua, Anna Shikusho and Lorraine Jossob.
The first semifinal on Thursday will see Zambia and Botswana resume their battle at the Wolfson Stadium (12h30 kick-off; 10h30 GMT).
It is a first ever semifinal appearance for the Mares, who will have to be vastly improved if they are to trouble a Zambia side who looked limp in their final pool match.
The second semi pits heavyweights South Africa against Zimbabwe (15h30; 13h30 GMT) against one-another, the only two nations to have ever lifted this trophy.
It is sure to be a titanic clash between arguably the best two teams in the competition.
Meanwhile, in the inaugural 2019 COSAFA Women’s Championship, Zambia sealed top spot in Group B to set up a semifinal with Zimbabwe on Thursday. Hosts South Africa will face East African guest nation Tanzania in the Last 4.
Zambia claimed a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Tanzania to take the win, as goals from Florence Kasonde and Christine Kalange put them 2-0 up.
Enekia Kasonga Lunyamila scored a third goal of the competition for Tanzania late on to set up a grandstand finish, but could not force home an equaliser that would have seen them seal top-spot.
Botswana cruised to a 3-0 win over Eswatini in the other fixture in the pool to earn their first points of the championship.
Thuto Radipitse, Getrude Seambala and Leungo Senwelo scored the goals for the Young Mares as they ended their tournament on a high.
Both semifinal matches will be played on Thursday at the Gelvandale Stadium, with Zambia versus Zimbabwe to kick-off at 10h00 (08h00 GMT) and South Africa meeting Tanzania at 14h00 (12h00 GMT).
(Credit: Cosafa Website)