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By Cosafa

Banyana and Zambia secure semi-final spots

Zambia and South Africa sealed their place in the semi-finals of the 2017 Cosafa Women’s Championship in Bulawayo on Sunday with contrasting results.

Hosts Zimbabwe, however, will have to wait to learn their fate after being held by Malawi. Zambia finished top of Group A with a comprehensive 7-1 victory over Madagascar, while South Africa were held 1-1 by Botswana, but still managed the number one position in Group C.

Zambia and South Africa will now meet in Thursday’s first semi-final, but the identity of the other two sides in the Last Four will only be revealed after Monday’s final pool matches. Zambia sealed their place in the semifinals as winners of Group A with a 7-1 victory over Madagascar, who end the tournament with three straight defeats.

The She-Polopolo goals were spread around six different players with Barbra Banda grabbing two, and Misozi Zulu, Grace Chanda, Noria Sosala, Rhoda Chileshe and Racheal Nachula also on the scoresheet. Sophie Farafaniaina scored a consolation for the Malagasy.

Zimbabwe had to settle for second place in the pool after a last-minute goal from Tabitha Chawinga earned a 3-3 draw for Malawi. Rutendo Makore scored a hat-trick for Zimbabwe and has now scored all of her country’s goals in this year’s competition so far, taking her tally to eight and the top of the scorers charts.
Tabitha Chawinga and her sister, Temwa, netted the other two goals for the She Flames.

Zimbabwe have five points from their three matches and must now wait to see what happens in the Group B clash between Kenya and Swaziland on Monday. A Swaziland win will take them and the Kenyans through to the semifinals, but a draw or a Kenyan win and Zimbabwe will advance as the best-placed runner-up from the pool stages.

South Africa were minutes from defeat against Botswana, but were rescued by an equaliser from Chantelle Esau after Refilwe Tholakele had given the Lady Zebras the lead. In the other match in Group C, Lesotho claimed a memorable win with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over more fancied Namibia.

The Namibians had an early lead after Anna-Marie Shikusho converted a fourth-minute penalty, but two goals from Boitumelo Rabele swung the fixture in Lesotho’s favour.

Monday will see the completion of Group B. Aside from the crunch fixture between Kenya and Swaziland at Barbourfields Stadium (14h00 local; 12h00 GMT), Mauritius and Mozambique will play for pride in the other game that kicks-off at the same time at the Luveve Stadium.

Sunday’s results:

Zambia 7 (M. Zulu 6′, Banda 11′, 22′, Chanda 50′, Sosala 68′, Chileshe 80′, Nachula 81′) Madagascar 1 (Farafaniaina 20’)
Zimbabwe 3 (Makore 22′, 31′, 57’) Malawi 3 (Te. Chawinga 37’, Ta. Chawinga 60′, 89’)
Namibia 1 (Shikusho 4’pen) Lesotho 2 (Rabele 22′, 54’)
South Africa 1 (Esau 87’) Botswana 1 (Tholakele 84’)

Monday’s fixtures:

Kenya vs Swaziland (2pm local; 12pm GMT) – Barbourfields Stadium
Mauritius vs Mozambique (2pm local; 12pm GMT) – Luveve Stadium

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