Zambia beat Zimbabwe to reach 2019 COSAFA Cup final

Justin SHonga of Zambia challenged by John Takwara of Zimbabwe during 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup match between Zambia and Zimbabwe at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on 09 July 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Zambia’s shootout tale at the 2019 COSAFA Cup continued on Wednesday when they eliminated defending champions Zimbabwe in the semifinals 4-2 on post-match penalties following a 0-0 draw at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

It was the second successive time that Zambia advanced via penalties after beating Malawi by the similar margin in the quarterfinals on June 2 following a 2-2 result at fulltime.

Tandi Mwape, Jack Chirwa, Mwila Phiri and Bruce Musakanya all flawlessly converted for Zambia.

However, Khama Billiat’s penalty was saved by Zambia goalkeeper Sebastian Mwenge while Admiral Muskwe fired wide for Zimbabwe.

It was a game of chess for most of the 90 minutes although Zimbabwe goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze was the hero , first denying Lazarus Kambole’s breathtaking volley in the 18th minute.

Chipezeze then ensured justice was served when Zambia were given soft penalty in the 40th minute that was a clear ball to hand by Teenage Radebe.

Austin Muwowo confidently stepped up to take spot-kick but Chipezeze made sure there would be no goal number two for the Forest Rangers striker.

Meanwhile, Zambia will now face Botswana in the final on June 8 in Durban and now chasing a fifth title that will move them one closer to record six-time champions Zimbabwe.

Botswana beat Lesotho 2-1 to reach their first final since 2016 and set up their first of two meetings with Chipolopolo over the next 60 days.

Zambia and Botswana will meet again at the end of July in a 2020 CHAN second round qualifier.