Victor Lestoalo became just the second player in Bafana Bafana football history to score an international hat-trick as his treble in a 4-0 win over Lesotho sealed top spot in Group A at the 2021 COSAFA Cup in Nelson Mandela Bay.
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Bafana Bafana are now assured of a place in Friday’s Cosafa Cup semifinals, but who they will be up against, as well as who will be the second qualifier from their pool, will go down to the wire in Wednesday’s final round of games.
Letsoalo is the second Bafana Bafana player after Benni McCarthy against Namibia in 1998 to net a hat-trick as he opened the scoring inside five minutes to set the tone for the game.
Sphelele Mkhulise added a second midway through the first half, before Letsoalo bagged his brace just before the break.
His historic moment was completed 12 minutes into the second half after he was teed-up by defender Thabani Dube.
Zambia kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the semifinals as they defeated Botswana 2-1, with Justin Shonga bagging a brace for them to take his tally for the tournament to three. Thatayaone Kgamanyane netted for The Zebras.
Zambia must now beat Bafana Bafana on Wednesday to stand a chance of progressing to the semifinals, as well as hoping that Botswana defeat Eswatini.
That would leave all three sides on six points and create a mini-league which would come down to goal-difference and potentially goals scored. Or perhaps even the drawing of lots!
However, Eswatini need just a point and having not played since Saturday should be the fresher team.
Namibia remain the top side in Group B after they played to a 1-1 draw with Malawi, who have now been eliminated.
Elmo Kambindu scored his third goal of the competition to put the Brave Warriors ahead, before Micium Mhone equalised for The Flames, though it was not enough.
Senegal took a big step towards the semifinals, and eliminated Zimbabwe at the same time, as they claimed a 2-1 victory.
Mohamed Ba and Abdoul Ndoye scored for the west African guest nation, while Qadar Amini netted for Zimbabwe.
Namibia head the pool with seven points from three games, followed by Senegal (six from three), Mozambique (four from three), Malawi (two from three) and Zimbabwe (two from four).
Senegal will need a win over Malawi on Wednesday to be sure of their semifinal place, though even a defeat will be enough if Mozambique fail to beat Namibia.
The top two teams in each of the groups advance to the semifinals, which will be played on Friday.