Zambia have become the first team to qualify for the 2018 Cosafa Cup semifinals after they defeated Namibia 4-3 on penalties on Saturday afternoon.
The teams played out a cagey goalless stalemate in their quarterfinal clash at Peter Mokaba Stadium, before Chipolopolo held their nerve in the shootout to secure a place in the final four against either South Africa or Madagascar.
Namibia settled the quicker of the two teams and created an early opportunity for Vitapi Ngaruka, but the defender sent his shot just wide of the target in the fifth minute.
The Brave Warriors looked the better team through the first 45 minutes, dominating possessing and putting together some good passing movements, but they lacked an end product and were unable to trouble goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata.
Their best chance arrived in the 34th minute when a loose ball in Zambia’s penalty area fell kindly for Dynamo Fredericks, but the midfielder sent his shot over the crossbar.
The first notable save of the game arrived with Zambia’s first genuine threat on goal, as Kelvin Mubanga let fly from long range in the 53rd minute. Namibia goalkeeper Maximilian Mbaeva had to dive full stretch to tip the ball away.
Five minutes later Mbaeva made an even better stop, reacting sharply to keep out a close-range effort from John Ching’andu as Chipolopolo began to grow in confidence.
Nsabata was also in action later in the second half, making an especially good save to keep out a low shot from Namibian substitute Willem Pinehas in the 85th minute.
With the goalkeepers dominating proceedings, it was little surprise the game ended in a 0-0 stalemate and went straight to penalties.
Zambia won 4-3 on penalties
Zambia: Nsabata, Mutale, Kambole, Sakala, Ching’andu (Kampanda 70’), Mayembe, Chirwa, Mubanga (Sikombe 78’), Chama, Tembo, Sikaonga
Namibia: Mbaeva, Hoaseb, Hanamub, Hambira, Hotto, Fredericks (Martin 90’), Nekundi (Pinehas 68’), Ilmbondi (Keimuine 63’), Ketjijere, Ngaruka, Lombard