Zimbabwe’s U17 boys soccer team lost 0-3 to Zambia’s U20 team today in the final of the Region 5 youth games.
The Young Chipolopolo, who brought to the COSASA tournament an Under 20 team instead of the stipulated Under 17s, were the clear favorites going into the match. There was a capacity crowd at Barbourfields Stadium, the last event of the ten days of AUSC Region 5 Youth games.
Zambia attacked from the start, and Zimbabwe played most of the first half on the backfoot. Apart from two piercing shots from Ishmael Munsaka and Thomas Kadyaridzire, it was all Zambia. The Zimbabwean goalie Kelvin Shangwa was by far the best player for Zimbabwe. He made more than five crucial saves which denied our Northern neighbors even more goals.
In the second half, Thembalethu Mthunzi a super-sub was brought on for Lennon Bvuchura. Coach Tafadzwa Rushiri expected a lot from this youngster who had proved himself on more than one occasion, but this time he failed to make an impact.
Zambia scored the first goal through Patrick Ngoma in the 54th minute. The Young Chipolopolo now attacked, with more power and intention. Zambia doubled their lead again in the 61st minute after they caught the Zimbabwean defense napping.
In the 70th minute Leslie Lunga was sent off with a red card after he was judged to have tackled a Zambian player crudely, and Zambia was awarded a penalty. Solomon Sakhala sent Shangwa the wrong way and converted for Zambia.
Sakhala tried to provoke the Zimbabwean fans, but the fans restrained themselves. Only a handful left the stands. The goal however was a nail in the coffin for Zimbabwe, with a 3-0 unassailable lead.
Zambia, won the game to win gold, with Zimbabwe, who had won all other games in the tournament, settling for silver. Thembalethu Mthunzi, Kelvin Shangwa, Thomas Kadyaridzire and Ishmael Munsaka were Zimbabwe’s best players in the tourney.
The Young Chipolopolo however scored 19 goals and were breached only once. Earlier in the day, the Brave Warriors of Namibia beat Malawi 2-1 in the third and fourth place play off.