Zimbabwe, who have already won a record four Cosafa Cup titles, completed their success over Lesotho in 90 minutes, coming from behind to win 2-1 but the Zambians needed a post-match shootout to book their place.
They beat South Africa 5-3 on penalties after a goalless draw in the second of the day’s semi-finals.
Zambia converted all their kicks but Lerato Chabangu had his effort saved, leaving South Africa to play Lesotho in the third place play-off on Saturday.
Zambia and South Africa played at a furious pace for much of the game which went two hours without a goal. Coach Herve Renard, who started the game with the same team that beat Mozambique 3-1 at quarterfinal stage, is relieved his lads avenged a consecutive Cosafa defeats at the hands of South Africa in the 2007 final and the 2008 semi-finals.
Chipolopolo has set up a final clash with southern neighbors and defending champions Zimbabwe who got the better of Lesotho in the earlier semi-finals at the same venue.
Zimbabwe got an early fright when Lesotho took the lead in just the fourth minute with Thapelo Tale providing some enterprising running on the right before a square pass was neatly tucked away by Motlalepla Mofolo.
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League top scorer with 11 goals from 16 matches, struck twice in the 14th and 24th minute to set a final between the winner of the other match between South Africa and Zambia played later last night.
|Fast facts about Cosafa Cup Semi-Finals:|
|Zimbabwe vs Lesotho||2-1|
|Zambia vs South Africa||5-3 penalties|
|Cosafa Cup Final||Zimbabwe vs Zambia|
|Date of Final||Saturday 20th July 2013|
|Venue||Levy Mwanawasa stadium in Ndola|
Ndoro was deservedly named the man-of-the-match, following in the footsteps of Ronald Chitiyo, who walked away with the same accolade in the quarter-final win against Malawi.
“We can play better, the only good thing about our game was that we got the two goals,” said Zimbabwe’s coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels afterwards.
Lesotho’s coach Leslie Notsi blamed the fatigue of five matches in 10 days for his side’s defeat but was still full of praise for their efforts.
The Warriors are now seeking to extend their record as the team with the most Cosafa titles to five. “Now we just have to continue to try and improve every time but being in the final is an achievement because there are some teams which are in better shape in this competition. Teams like Namibia, Zambia and South Africa are in good condition and we could be in trouble in the final and winning the cup will not be easy but we will try,” Pagels said.
Date: 18 July 2013