ZIMBABWE’S Young Warriors have been knocked out of the U-17 African Championship after a 4-1 loss to South Africa on Wednesday.
Although the Zimbabweans wer
e the first to score in the 32nd minute through Victor Mtandavari, Michael Nkambule drew level for South Africa on the stroke of half-time.
Nkambule went on a run from the midfield before hitting a fierce shot that went into the left corner of the net.
The Amajimbos, as the South African team is known, took complete control of the game in the second half.
Mkhanyiseli Siwahla scored their second goal in the 55th minute, going on a run from the right wing before unleashing a strike that hit Zimbabwe goalkeeper Ronald Mudimu, with the deflection going into the net.
Tumelo Nhlapo scored the third and Msomi Sibusiso sealed South Africa’s victory with a fourth goal in the 81st minute.
Despite being eliminated, Zimbabwe still have to play their remaining Group B match against Nigeria on Saturday.
Zimbabwe coach Madinda Ndlovu admitted to BBC Sport that his side deserved to be beaten.
“South Africa deserved to win because they played better than us,” said Ndlovu.
“I’m not disappointed neither do I have any regrets for our early exit in the tournament. My boys are still learning.”
Serame Letsoaka, the South Africa manager, told BBC Sport the victory keeps his team on course for the championship’s knockout stages.
Meanwhile, Ivory Coast have booked a place in the semi-finals, following their 3-2 victory over Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets in the second game of the day.
The Eaglets scored the game’s opening goal in the 3rd minute, when Wuya Ibrahim Jibrin intercepted a pass from an Ivorian defender and struck the ball from close range.
Ivory Coast’s Ismael Beco Fofanah equalized four minutes later, heading home a cross from Martial Kouasi Yao.
Kouassi Koffi got the second and third for the Ivorians in the 18th and 80th minutes.
Nigeria’s Simon Zenke scored an 83rd minute goal in what looked like a comeback attempt but the Ivorians held on firmly to their lead.
Godwin Izilien, coach of the Nigerian team blamed his team’s defeat on poor officiating.
“We had a penalty and it was not given,” he complained to BBC Sport.
“But all is not yet lost, I’m going to prepare my boys for the next match and we’ll make sure that we win.
“I told the BBC that if I fail to make it to the semi-finals I will resign and I still maintain my words as a man of principle.”
The defeat was not the only bad stroke of luck for Nigeria, as they also received a US$1 000 fine from the Confederation of African Football for using nameless jerseys in their previous game against South Africa. — BBC Sport.