2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship – Day Three Review / Day Four Preview

Rutendo Makore scored her fifth goal in two games but hosts Zimbabwe were held to a 1-1 draw by Zambia in their crunch Group A clash at the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship at the Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on Friday.

Holders Zimbabwe had to come from behind in the second half to grab the point after Barbra Banda had given Zambia a deserved lead at the break. Zimbabwe remain top of the pool on goal-difference going into Sunday’s final round of matches, but they will know that any slip-ups in their match against a tricky Malawi side could prove disastrous for their campaign.

Malawi kept their hopes of a semifinal place alive with a 6-3 victory over Madagascar on Friday. The She-Flames had lost their opening match to Zambia by the same scoreline. The Chawinga sisters did all the damage for Malawi against Madagascar, with captain Tabitha grabbing four goals and younger sibling Temwa the other two.

Malagasy captain Sophie Farafaniaina grabbed a brace for her side, while Mamy Razafindrabe got the other.

The islanders have now no hopes of reaching the semifinals as a best runner-up and will return home after Sunday’s clash with Zambia.

Three-time winners South Africa edged Namibia 3-1 in their crunch Group C game on Friday that put them in control of the pool with a final game to come against Botswana on Sunday. Thembi Kgatlana grabbed a brace for Banyana Banyana, with Chantelle Esau getting the third. Namibia were still in the contest until the final few minutes as they netted via Juliana Blou, but as they pushed forward in search of an equaliser, they were caught out by Kgatlana’s second.

East African guest nation Kenya can take a giant step towards the semifinals if they beat Group B opponents Mauritius in the first game at the Luveve Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 10h30 local; 08h30 GMT). Kenya had a late rally to beat Mozambique 5-2 in their opener on Thursday, while Mauritius were 3-0 losers to Swaziland. Kenya will be favourites to pick up a second win, while Mauritius need victory to keep their hopes alive.

Group C rivals Lesotho and Botswana (14h00 local; 12h00 GMT) are two other teams who need victory for a realistic hope of reaching the knockout stages after they lost their first games to South Africa (0-3) and Namibia (0-4) respectively. Lesotho will be favourites to pick up the win having held the powerful South Africans for much of their contest.

The final game of the day is a Group B fixture between Mozambique and Swaziland (16h30 local; 14h30 GMT) that is tough to call, with the latter perhaps the favourites.

The top team in each pool advances to the semifinals, as well as the best-placed runner-up.

FRIDAY’S RESULTS
All at Barbourfields Stadium
Madagascar 3 (Farafaniaina 54′, 69’, Razafindrabe 65’) Malawi 6 (Ta. Chawinga 22′, 37′, 87′, 90’, Te. Chawinga 45′, 49’)
Zimbabwe 1 (Makore 50’) Zambia 1 (Banda 26’)
South Africa 3 (Kgatlana 5′, 88’, Esau 13’) Namibia 1 (Blou 37’)
SATURDAY’S FIXTURES
All at Luveve Stadium
Kenya vs Mauritius (10h30 local; 08h30 GMT)
Lesotho vs Botswana (14h00 local; 12h00 GMT)
Mozambique vs Swaziland (16h30 local; 14h30 GMT)

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