Guests Kenya impress, champions slump in COSAFA Cup


Zimbabwe striker Michael Tapera scores the only goal that gave the Warriors a 1-0 victory over Comoros

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) –  GUEST side Kenya, has impressed in the opening round of the Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA), providing perhaps the only thing to celebrate lately for the country going through deadly protests.

Zambia’s defence of the title has gotten off to a worst possible start while hosts South Africa are labouring.

The Kenyans showed their intentions of taking the trophy to East Africa following a commanding display against Zambia, who are also record holders, winning 2-0 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Thursday.

The Harambee Stars wrapped up the Group B match in the opening 20 minutes courtesy of a penalty by Austine Odhiambo (8th minute).

The Copper Bullets’ quest for an equalizer failed.

Patrick Otieno doubled the advantage in the 19th minute with a close range finish.

In the earlier Group B encounter at the same venue, returnees Zimbabwe beat Comoros 1-0 thanks to a 53rd minute goal by Michael Tapera.

The Zimbabweans were marking a return since 2021.

The Warriors missed out on recent previous tournaments following a ban by Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) for government interference in the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA).

The win would be a boost following a poor campaign in the World Cup 2026 qualifiers.

Draws characterised the opening day on Wednesday.

South Africa failed to make home advantage count finishing level with Mozambique at one-all draw in Group A.

Botswana and Eswatini finished goalless in the other match.

Action resumes on Friday as Group C rolls into action at the Nelson Mandela Bay.

Vastly improving Lesotho, beaten in the final last year, plays Seychelles. Angola will contest Namibia.

The top-placed team in each of the three groups and the best placed runner-up advance to the semifinals.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is formerly the dominant force in the COSAFA after winning the title six times. Zambia (7 titles) overtook them following the neighbouring country’s suspension.

It remains to be seen whether the return of the Warriors would see them reclaim their top spot.

On Saturday, Mozambique lock horns with Eswatini while South Africa fight it out with neighbouring Botswana.

Kenya beats Zambia 2-0 at the COSAFA encounter

On Sunday, there will be the derby of the Zambezi between Zambia and Zimbabwe in a duel likely to go either way.

Kenya and Comoros complete Sunday’s matches.

On Monday, Angola takes on Seychelles while Namibia battles out with Lesotho.

– CAJ News

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