Zambia defeated South Africa 1-0 in the 2017 Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) semi-final clash at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka on Wednesday night.
As a result the Young Chipolopolo will now face the winner between Guinea and Senegal in the final on Sunday, while the losing team are scheduled to take on Amajita in the Third place match on the same day.
Thabo Senong, the Amajita head coach, made three changes from the side that beat Sudan's Young Falcons of Jediane 3-1 in their final Group B encounter which was played in Ndola on Sunday. Orlando Pirates duo Tercious Malepe and Sandile Mthethwa started in the central defence, while Portugal-based striker Luther Singh, who had scored four goals in the tournament, was positioned in the left wing. They faced a much-fancied Young Chipolopolo side which had won all of their three Group A matches. The Zambians had also defeated Amajita 2-1 in the 2016 U20 Cosafa Cup final last December.
But Amajita had a lively start into the match with the team enjoying more possession and they were first to threaten within the first 10 minutes of the game. Notha Ngcobo whipped in a dangerous curling corner-kick into the Young Chipolopolo box and goalkeeper Mangani Banda did brilliantly to punch the ball away from danger. As the game progressed the Young Chipolopolo, who are coached by Beston Chambeshi, began to take control of the match, but Amajita looked solid at the back and also dangerous on the counter attack.
A quick move in the 20th minute saw two Young Chipolopolo defenders fouling Amajita's targetman Khanyiso Mayo on the edge of the box and Singh fired over the crossbar from the resultant free-kick. Both teams were struggling to create clear-cut chances - relying too much on set-pieces and Amajita keeper Mondli Mpoto did well to gather a dangerous curling corner-kick in the 35th minute.
Nevertheless, the two sides were unable to score in the first-half and the score was 0-0 at the interval. Amajita and the Young Chipolopolo had cancel each other out in a lively first-half. Senong made a tactical change eight minutes after restart introducing an attacking midfielder Kobamelo Kodisang for Mayo, who had lacked support upfront as a lone striker.
The tournament's top goalscorer, Singh, moved into the targetman role just ahead of three attacking midfielders Sibongakonke Mbatha, Grant Margeman and Kodisang. A good move by Amajita led to Kodisang playing a low free-kick into the Young Chipolopolo box in search of Singh in the 65th minute, but the ball was too close to keeper Banda, who gathered with ease.
The shot-stopper was also called into action two minutes later as Amajita continued to search for the opening goal. Teboho Mokoena forced Banda into a fine save from a well-taken free-kick. Kodisang's introduction seemed to have rejuvenated Amajita with Mthethwa and Mbatha missing glorious opportunities just before the 70th minute with the Young Chipolopolo defence exposed.
But the momentum was with the Young Chipolopolo in the dying minutes with Ngcobo's clearance hitting the upright, before Mpoto denied Patson Daka and the match ended goalless in regulation time and extra-time followed. The tournament hosts continued their dominance in extra-time with Mpoto denying Young Chipolopolo forward Enock Mwepu in the first-half of extra-time with the Amajita defence caught ball watching.
The pressure paid off for Chambeshi's side three minutes into the second-half of extra-time when Edward Chilufya rose highest to head home from Prosper Chiluya's free-kick to seal a 1-0 win to the Zambians.
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