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13 Dec 2006 09:10
South Africa and Zimbabwe played to a 1-1 draw in the last group-A game in the Metropolitan Cosafa Under-23 Cup at the Itsoseng Stadium in Mafikeng on Tuesday afternoon.
Crowd attendance, despite the blazing heat, was better than when the two teams met previously.
Daren Dicks and Wayne Matle made the starting line-up for the first time since the tournament began. They came in for Theodore Williams and Oscar Mbele in Amajita’s defence and midfield respectively.
Amajita attacked from the first whistle, making their intentions of winning the match clear as Sibusiso Hadebe, Michael Nkambule and Sibusiso Ntuli had shots saved by Zimbabwe goalkeeper Mudimu Ronald.
Hadebe in the 23rd minute rounded Ronald, but due to lack of composure from the Jomo Cosmos left winger, his shot went over the bar.
Then the Serame Letsoaka-led side went to sleep and were punished by Zimbabwean skipper Sadiki Ali with a shot that went in the top corner of Jackson Mabokgwane’s net shortly before half-time.
The speed of midfielder Hadebe troubled the Zimbabwean defence throughout the afternoon and he was rewarded in the 72nd minute when he headed home a Kyle Alexander cross from the left flank.
Danger man for Zimbabwe Darryl Nyandoro was kept quiet all afternoon by the Simon Madibo-marshalled defence and he was substituted in the 78th minute to make way for Vengesayi Martin.
Confusion in the 87th minute led to a missed opportunity by Nkambule, Hadebe and substitute Thulani Lukhele, who only had the goalkeeper to beat after a cross from the right side of midfield.
While the match ended 1-1, both teams go through to the semis and will meet again on Friday. Zambia will play Malawi in the other semifinal match.—Sapa
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