Hosts Namibia failed to clear the first hurdle after completion of the round robin stages in the Confederation of Southern African Football Associations COSAFA Under-17 competition, under way in Windhoek.
The Baby Warriors ended runners-up in Group C behind overall winners Zimbabwe after they came from a goal down to beat Angola by 2 goals to 1 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium yesterday.
Despite the win, the Baby Namibians’ inferior goal average accumulated from their three-match streak in Group C means Group B runners-up Malawi stand a good chance of joining Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia in the semifinals.
Malawi have a date with Group A runners-up Lesotho to determine the second best placed team in the 10-nation tournament, at the Sam Nujoma Stadium this morning at 09h00.
In yesterday’s other action, Zimbabwe consolidated their position at the top of Group C when they dispatched a stubborn Swaziland outfit by 3 goals to 1 at the Khomasdal Stadium.
South Africa beat Mauritius 3-0 to finish top of Group A, while Zambia hammered 8 goals past Botswana without any resistance from the Young Zebras and ensured automatic qualification for the knockout stages.
Day two saw hosts Namibia hastening their premature exit from the tourney after the seemingly ill prepared Namibian team failed to capitalize on their numerical advantage in their Group C match against Swaziland.
Midfielder Eslin Kamuhanga pulled a consolation goal back for the home side from the penalty spot four minutes into the second half, but that was a bit too little and too late as the 9-man Young Sihlangus held on for dear life to come out victorious by 3 goals to 1.
The Swazis, who lost their opening Group C match against Angola, regrouped after that defeat and silenced the noisy home crowd with three quick goals in the first half.
Malawi took pole position in Group B, after the young Malawians saw off an out-of-sorts Botswana by 6 goals to 1 at the Khomasdal Stadium.
In Sunday’s other action, Zimbabwe had the better of the proceedings – beating Angola by 2 goals to 1 in an action-packed clash at the Khomasdal Stadium to anchor itself at the summit of Group C.
Lesotho, one of very few a teams in the weeklong tournament whose playing personnel’s physical appearance does not invite questions of age-cheating, defeated their more masculine Mauritian counterparts by a solitary goal in front of a partisan crowd at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.
In their opening match, Namibia’s Sam Kavezembi scored 21 minutes into the second half to cancel out Ashley Mukwanya’s 6th minute strike to earn Namibia a share of the spoils with Zimbabwe in an otherwise-entertaining match at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Saturday.
First half substitute Sylvester Ortmann changed the entire complex of the match with some deft touches and a mixture of intelligent runs and telling passes but lady luck turned her cheek on the young Warriors.
Angola shot to the top of Group C with a comprehensive 3 -1 win over a hapless Swaziland side in their opening match at the Khomasdal Stadium, while Zambia and Malawi played to a 1-all stalemate at the same venue on Saturday.
Group A favourites, South Africa thrashed Lesotho by 5 goals without a reply in a one sided match at the Sam Nujoma Stadium.
Both semifinals will be played tomorrow at the Sam Nujoma Stadium while the third place play-off is scheduled for Friday while the final will also be played at the same venue on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Namibian Under-20 football eleven had to be satisfied with 4th place at the annual COSAFA Under-20 Championship, which ended in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa on Sunday.
The Namibians went down by 2 goals to nil against overall winners Zimbabwe in the semifinals and suffered an identical defeat at the hands of Madagascar in the third place play-off.
Zimbabwe defeated hosts South Africa 3-1 in the final to win the Metropolitan sponsored youth tournament.