Malawi were crowned the 2023 HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Women’s Championship winners for the first time after defeating holders Zambia 2-1 at a buzzing Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday.
Zambia were in charge of the game in the opening minutes of the match and could have gotten the opener from a corner inside the first 15 minutes but Salome Phiri landed the ball on the roof of the net.
Malawi took the game to their neighbors with Temwa Chawinga threatening but Letisha Lungu cleared quickly and soon after Asaminye Simwaka found her captain, who headed over the bar.
Sarah Jere, Zambia’s top goal scorer at the tournament, had an opportunity to score but her attempt was tame and easy for Mercy Sikelo to save. Immediately after that it was Jere again making a run forward and passed to Phiri, who was in the box however failed to get a touch.
After 20 minutes there was a foul on Rose Kadzere and Malawi were awarded a free-kick which Chawinga stepped up to take but it was deflected for a corner which was fruitless in the end.
Four minutes after the half hour mark Chawinga squared to Simwaka who didn’t make a mistake and broke the deadlock to hand the Scorchers the lead with her second goal of the tournament.
Malawi got into second gear and built a wonderful team goal started by Chawinga, who passed to Simwaka, who then gave it to Sabinah Thom to extend the lead.
However Video Assistance Referee (VAR) technology disallowed the goal with evidence that Chawinga fouled the Zambian captain Lushomo Mweemba.
Malawi could have had a second goal in the opening five minutes of the second half through Kadzere but her shot went wide. With Malawi searching for a second goal, the Wuhan Jianghan star was brought down and her side got a set-piece.
Irene Khumalo took the shot from range and forced Lungu to punch way for a corner and nothing came of it.
Late in the match, Irene Khumalo gave away a penalty with a hand ball and Agness Phiri converted to equalize with four minutes left on the regulated time clock.
That was shot lived as a defensive error by the Zambian captain saw Thom punish the Copper Queens in injury time to regain the lead with the ultimate championship winning goal.
Mozambique were on the podium for the very first time at the Championship, winning a bronze medal after defeating Zimbabwe 2-0 in the third/fourth place playoff in the earlier kick-off.
In a highly tactical game, Mozambique left it until late to score two quick goals through Lucia Mozambique three minutes to time and Cina Manuel in injury time.
The score could have been higher however Luis Fumo’s side had Deolinda Gove’s goal disallowed two minutes after the hour mark by the VAR, which was consulted for the first time at the tournament.
In the individual awards, Chawinga walked away with the Golden Boot having scored nine goals and Player of the Tournament prize. Cynthia Shongwe was the Goalkeeper of the Tournament having conceded just two goals for Zimbabwe. The Fair Play award went to Zambia.
Most goals in a game: 8 Malawi 8 Eswatini 0 (Group A, October 7)
9 goals Temwa Chawinga (Malawi)
5 Thubelihle Shamase (South Africa)
4 Sarah Jere (Zambia)
3 Fridah Kabwe (Zambia), Sabinah Thom (Malawi)
2 Leticia Chinyamula (Malawi), Deolinda Gove (Mozambique) , Balothanyi Johannes (Botswana), Luvunga (Angola), Kesegofetse Mochawe (Botswana), Asimenye Simwaka (Malawi) 1
Hadhirami Ali (Comoros), Amelia Banze (Mozambique), Caupe (Angola), Emili Cazembe (Mozambique), Ennety Chemhere (Zimbabwe), Vanessa Chikupira (Malawi), Lone Gaofetoge (Botswana), Millicent Hikuam (Namibia), Rose Kadzere (Malawi), Ivone Kooper (Namibia), Sikhanyiso Magagula (Eswatini), Cina Manuel (Mozambique), Carolyne Mathyola (Malawi ), Matuvova (Angola), Lucia Moambique (Mozambique), Priviledge Mupeti (Zimbabwe), Rudo Neshamba (Zimbabwe), Lushomo Mweemba (Zambia), Eddelsisingh Naris (Namibia), Nobukhosi Ncube (Zimbabwe), Tenanile Ngcamphalala (Eswatini), Jackline Nkole (Zambia), Khesani Nkuna (South Africa), Agness Phiri (Zambia), Rina Raharimalala (Madagascar), Mohamed Roukia (Comoros), Sambo (Angola), Samkelisiwe Selana (South Africa), Sphumelele Shamase (South Africa) Own
goals Hadhirami Ali (Comoros), Benadetta Mkandawawire (Malawi)