from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – A DREAM final between the two most successful sides in the tournament is in the offing as hosts, Zambia, and defending champions, South Africa, contest the final of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) men’s Under-20 Championships on Saturday.
The rivals square up at the Nkoloma Stadium in the capital Lusaka in a 15h00 kickoff tie.
Apart from home advantage, Zambia’s Young Chipolopolo will be counting on a more superior performance in the semifinals than reigning champions Amajita.
Zambia, who will seek a first victory in the competition since 2016, defeated Angola 3-0.
South Africa edged Madagascar 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 draw.
The incumbents survived a scare having gone 2-0 down to Madagascar in the first half.
It is the fourth appearance in the final for the side coached by Helman Mkhalele. In the opposite dugout will be Oswald Mutapa, the coach who guided Zambia to the title in the COSAFA Under-17 Championship in October.
Two-goal hero in the semifinals, Patrick Gondwe, and the prolific Francisco Mwepu carry the hosts’ hopes.
The excellent Oswin Appollis is the trump card of the defending champions as they seek a hat-trick of titles after they claimed wins in 2017 and 2018.
The Zambians are the most successful side in the competition with ten wins since the junior football tournament’s inception in 1983.
South Africa has eight titles followed by Zimbabwe’s Young Warriors with six.
Madagascar, who have won the regional tourney once, will contest the bronze-medal match with Angola at 11h30, also at the Nkoloma Stadium.
– CAJ News