Losika Ratshukudu scored the only goal as Botswana edged Namibia 1-0 to secure a place in the semifinals of the TotalEnergies U17 AFCON Algeria 2023 | COSAFA Qualifier that is being played as part of the Region 5 Games Lilongwe 2022.
Botswana claimed the three points in a game that was delayed for almost two hours on Tuesday when torrential rain left the pitch waterlogged at the intended kick-off time.
The victory was enough for second place in the Group A, but the pool has been won by hosts Malawi. The top two in each group advance to the semifinals, while the two finalists in this year’s competition win a place at the TotalEnergies U17 AFCON Algeria 2023 in April.
Botswana always looked the most likely to win and might have been ahead when Katlego Makgwa struck the post having burst into the box.
But it took until the 72nd minute for them to score as Ratshukudu latched onto a loose ball in the box and side-footed into the net from 15 yards.
Group B will be completed on Wednesday, though we already know that South Africa and Zambia have qualified from the pool. The question is who will take top spot.
Those two will face-off at 21h30 CAT, where a draw will be enough to see South Africa to the number one position and a semifinal clash against Botswana on Friday. But a win for Zambia would turn the tables and they will be quietly confident of pulling it off.
Before that there is a dead rubber between Seychelles and Mozambique at 19h00, with those two playing to avoid the wooden spoon.
The first semifinal in the COSAFA Girls’ Under-17 Championship will be played early on Wednesday morning when defending champions Zambia take on hosts Malawi at 08h30 CAT.
Zambia are still in the hunt for back-to-back titles and come up against a Malawi side making their debut in the competition.
The second semifinal will be played on Thursday between South Africa and Botswana.
All matches will be streamed live on COSAFA.TV and FIFA+, and you can get a full rundown of the Girls’ fixtures right here, and the Boys’ matches here. We will also be providing coverage across our multitude of social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube – where we will provide news and behind-the-scenes features from Lilongwe.