Zimbabwe crowned 2017 COSAFA Cup champions

Zimbabwe crowned 2017 COSAFA Cup champions
Talent Chawapiwa of Zimbabwe celebrates a goal with teammates during 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup match between Zambia and Zimbabwe at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on 09 July 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Sunday Jul 09, 2017. 17:06

Zimbabwe defeated Zambia 3-1 in the 2017 COSAFA Cup final at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa on Sunday.

The Warriors were then crowned COSAFA Cup champions - lifting the trophy for a record fifth time.

Sunday Chidzambwa, the Zimbabwe mentor, also became the first coach to win the COSAFA Cup for the third time - having also won it 2003 and 2009.

Chipolopolo started brightly as Jack Chirwa forced Zimbabwe goalkeeper George Chigova into a brilliant finger-tipping save 10 minutes into the game.

Allan Chibwe, the Zambia keeper, was called into action for the first time four minutes later and he gathered Warriors full-back Eric Chipeta's cross with ease.

However, the Chipolopolo shot-stopper, was beaten in the 22nd minute after he failed to handle a long ball from Zimbabwe left-back Honest Moyo.

Warriors striker Knox Mutizwa pounced and he headed home to make it 1-0 to Zimbabwe - benefiting from Chibwe's poor goalkeeping.

The momentum was with Zimbabwe and Chibwe denied Mutizwa with a great save on the half-hour mark as the striker searched for his sixth goal of the tournament.

Zambia coach Wedson Nyirenda made a change in the 38th minute as Lubinda Mundia replaced injured Mike Katiba as Chipolopolo looked to restore parity.

Mundia made an immediate impact as he headed home Mwila Phiri's cross in the 39th minute to ensure that the first-half ended with Zambia and Zimbabwe locked at 1-1.

The Warriors were the better side in the first 15 minutes of the second-half with Chibwe being forced to deny Mutizwa from a one-on-one situation.

But the Power Dynamos keeper was then beaten for the second time in the game after Mutizwa's header had hit the upright in the 56th minute.

The rebound was fired home by Talent Chawapiwa with his left foot - to make it 2-1 to Zimbabwe - restoring the Warriors' lead in the process.

The Warriors looked dangerous each time they pushed forward and Ocean Mushure extended their lead with a right-footed shot to make it 3-1 to Zimbabwe in the 67th minute.

It was end-to-end stuff in the closing stages of the match as Zambia searched for late goals, while Zimbabwe looked dangerous on the counter-attack.

Chigova produced a magnificent one-handed save to deny Godfrey Ngwenya in the 90th minute and ultimately, Zimbabwe ran out 3-1 winners.

Zambia (1) 1 (Mundia 39')
Zimbabwe (1) 3 (Mutizwa 22', Chawapiwa 56', Mushure 67')

Zambia XI: Chibwe, Phiri (Ngwenya 70'), Chama, Chungu (Muchindu 64') Shonga, Malama, Katiba (Mundia 39'), Chirwa, Mulenga, Shamujomba, Mwila.

Zimbabwe XI: Chigova, Mushure, Chipeta, Chawapiwa (Katsvairo 81'), Tigere, Takwara, Karuru, Homora, Mutizwa, Moyo, Chakoroma.

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