Zimbabwe, Lesotho battle for Cosafa Cup final berth

Zimbabwe, Lesotho battle for Cosafa Cup final berth
George Chigova and Khama Billiat

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Jun 04, 2018. 16:04

Zimbabwe and Lesotho will battle for a place in the final of the 2018 Cosafa Cup when they meet in the second semifinal at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday, June 6. Kick-off is set for 19h30 CAT.

Zimbabwe, the defending champions, came through a tough quarterfinal against Botswana to earn their place in the final four.

The Warriors were held 1-1 by Botswana on Sunday night and needed post-match penalties to emerge victorious.

Yet the Zebras were comfortably the best team on show in the group stage, so Zimbabwe’s win in their first game of the tournament – albeit by a shootout – is still an impressive feat.

“I wish to bring the trophy home but obviously we don’t want to put ourselves under any pressure. We are the holders and we will go out there to play for our country and fight to retain the trophy,” said Zimbabwe coach Sunday Chidzambwa.

Lesotho, meanwhile, claimed an upset win over rivals Swaziland in their quarterfinal on Saturday, with substitute Sera Motebang scoring the only goal of the game.

“It was really a special goal for me personal and the team as a whole because we managed to secure a place in the semifinals of the competition,” Sera said after the victory.

“When I came in, the plan was to change the game for my country and getting the only goal of the match was a bonus.

“I dedicate that goal to our Queen back in Lesotho, as she was celebrating her 42nd birthday on Saturday.

“I think on the day team work was very key for us. We fought with everything we had; the spirit had been very high in our camp going into the game.

“I was not surprised in the end that we won the match because of the hunger I saw from my teammates in our training sessions leading to the game. We wanted it more and in the end it paid out for us.”

Lesotho are looking to reach the final of the Cosafa Cup for the first time since 2000, while Zimbabwe are chasing their second successive appearance in the showpiece match.

The teams have met in 19 previous matches, according to FIFA’s statistics database. Zimbabwe have claimed 14 wins compared to just one for Lesotho.

The Warriors and Likuena played out a classic Cosafa Cup match when they met in the semifinals in 2017, with Chidzambwa’s side claiming a 4-3 victory.

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