September 18, 2021

Botswana stun Olympic-bound Zambia to reach first-ever Cosafa Women’s Cup final

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The Mares held out to upset the Copper Queens to earn a first ever ticket to the final of the competition in Nelson Mandela Bay

Botswana earned a historic qualification to the final of the Cosafa Women’s Cup following a 2-1 victory over Zambia on Thursday.

The Mares had enjoyed an impressive campaign, with two 1-0 preliminary stage wins over Zimbabwe and Tanzania to finish top of Group C and secure back-to-back semi-final appearances.

Having fallen 4-0 to Zambia in last year’s semi-final, Botswana were seeking to avenge their humiliation against the Copper Queens.

On their part, Bruce Nwape’s side finished as Group B runners-up but progressed to the semi-final as the best second-placed team.

Refilwe Tebogo Tholekele got the Mares off to a fine start following her fine finish eight minutes into the match at the Wolfson Stadium.

Having survived pouring attacks, Botswana were gifted a penalty kick after a Zambian player handled the ball inside the area and Tholekele converted from the spot in the 29th minute.

On the brink of half time, Nwape’s team rallied to pull one back thanks to fine attacking build-up which was converted by Ireen Lungu but was not enough to deny their opponents the final spot.

The shock win over wasteful Olympic-bound Zambia in Nelson Mandela Bay saw Botswana end an 18-year wait for the final spot on a ninth attempt.

Having reached the final, they will now face Banyana Banyana, whom they eliminated from the 2020 Olympic Qualifier one year ago.

For Zambia, it was the end of the road in the competition and they will now shift focus on their two-legged international friendly against Chile later this month.