Langson Mbewe and Tebogo Moerene
Hosts Zambia and South Africa played out a thrilling 0-0 draw in the men’s Under-17 football competition on day four of the 2012 Zone VI Games in Lusaka on Monday.
There might not have been any goals, but the Group A clash had the capacity crowd on the edge of their seats in the pouring rain as numerous chances were created at either end.
South Africa's Nhlakanipho Ntuli missed a penalty for his side on 33 minutes, putting the ball wide after Zambia's Paul Phiri was adjudged to have brought down Bongani Khanyile in the box.
Zambia came out blazing in the second half, but chances for captain Langson Mbewe, Spencer Sautu and Chibuye Mulilo all went begging.
The junior Flames of Malawi bounced back from a 4-0 bashing at the hands of South Africa with an impressive performance netting three late goals to revive their chances of reaching the semi-finals.
Defender Lovemore Jere opened the scores five minutes into the match before Wongani Kuchisja doubled the lead on 22 minutes with a speculative long range shot.
Thokozani Harrison scored the third on 55 minutes tapping in a low shot from a Lessman Singini rebound. Shortly after, Singini notched the fourth when he beat goalkeeper Duane Komaine with a close range shot.
Midfielder Abraham Kamwendo completed the rout with a well-executed spot kick seven minutes before time to shatter Seychelles’ chances of making the last four of the competition.
The second day of football at the 2012 Zone VI U20 Games provided more thrilling action as the men’s Under-17 competition took centre-stage in Lusaka, Zambia.
South Africa came back from 2-1 down at halftime to defeat Botswana 3-2 and maintain their 100 percent start to the competition in Group A.
Thatayaone Ramatlapeng scored twice in the first half to give Botswana the advantage, but a brace from Nhlakanipho Ntuli and a further goal from Fagrie Lakay gave South Africa the win. Ntuli also moved to the top of the goal-scorers charts having also netted twice in the opening day win over Malawi on Friday.
South Africa vs. Malawi
The Zambia U17 national team started off the Zone VI tournament campaign on a sound note after they beat Botswana by 2 goals to nil but rivals and fellow favorites to qualify from group A South Africa bettered their score with a 4-0 triumph over Malawi.
The Zambian lads put up a brilliant performance and looked like the team to beat in the tournament though many would agree that there was a lot of individualism in their play.
Paul Phiri was the first off the mark with a headed goal in the 22nd minute as he registered the 1st goal of the tournament before Chibuye Mulilo wrapped up the win with a strike from outside the box just before the break.
The opening round of fixtures in the men’s Under-17 football competition at the Zone VI Games gets under way in Lusaka, Zambia on Friday.
The highly-anticipated tournament features the best of the young talent in the Southern African region and provides a glimpse at potential future national team stars from the competition nations.
The Football competition is being run under the guidance of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) and the winners will be crowned champions of the region for 2012.
The competition is likely to be fierce and will attract scouts from around the region and beyond to the Nkoloma and Zanaco Sunset stadiums in Lusaka.
COSAFA will hold its 2012 junior men’s and women’s events under the aegis of this years Zone 6 Youth Games to be held in Lusaka from December 7-16.
COSAFA chief operations officer Sue Destombes said in a statement that the decision was taken due to operational reasons.
“In the past, the bi-annual SCSA Zone VI Games have clashed with and impacted on the COSAFA Under-20 men’s competition which has been an annual event,” Destombes said.
“For this reason, COSAFA held talks with SCSA Zone VI leadership and reached an agreement that the men’s football element of the bi-annual Games will be played at Under-17 level, whereas the Women’s competition remains at Under-20.