Zambia and Cameroon sealed their places in the semifinals of the 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship with comfortable Group B victories in Nelson Mandela Bay on Tuesday (18 September).
The pair will face-off on the knockout stages for the second time in the competition as Zambia qualify as the top team in their pool and Central African guest nation Cameroon advance as the best-placed runner-up.
Cameroon crushed Lesotho 6-0 in their final pool match to take their goals tally in three group stage matches to 14, showing their quality and highlighting their status as the third-ranked team on the African continent.
Madeleine Ngono Mani scored a brace of goals to go with strikes from Eliane Bodolo, Edith Ngo Mbeleck, Claudy Ychadeu and Catherine Mbengono as Cameroon proved far too strong for their opponents.
It was still not their biggest win of the tournament having beaten Mozambique 8-1 in their pool opener.
Zambia found the going a little heavier against Mozambique in their final pool game but won 3-0 as Rachel Nachula, Mary Mwakapila and skipper Barbra Banda netted for the She-Polopolo.
Mozambique finished the game with 10 players after a straight red card for Cecilia Mufume.
Zambia finish with a full haul of nine points and have yet to concede a goal in the competition, the only team to have kept three clean-sheets.
Wednesday, 19 September will be a rest day and the semifinals will take on Thursday, 20 September with both matches to be staged at the Wolfson Stadium.
The first will see Zambia clash with Cameroon at 13h00 and will be a repeat of the second Group B game for both sides.
Zambia triumphed 1-0 on that occasion thanks to a goal from Lushomo Mweemba, and it is likely to be another titanic tussle in their semifinal.
Hosts and defending champions South Africa will face Uganda in the second semifinal at 15h30 and will be in confident mood after they defeated Malawi 6-0 in their final pool game on Monday (17 September).
Uganda will present a big challenge though as well after they ousted Zimbabwe from the competition.
“Any opponent that we play will come out against Banyana Banyana and give their best,” said Janine van Wyk, captain of the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana. “We need to be aware of that, but also focus on ourselves. They are obviously going to analyse us too and focus on our weaknesses and try and prevent us from scoring goals.
“We need to be prepared for anything that comes our way. Coach [Desiree Ellis] will prepare us well for Uganda, show us their strengths and weaknesses, and we just need to come out and perform. If we do that we could be one step ahead of them. We have played our style, which is to keep the ball on the ground, go forward and play as a team. We are in it to win it, not for ourselves, but as a team.”
Entrance to the Wolfson Stadium on Thursday will be FREE to the public.
Source: South African Football Association