South Africa….(2) 3 (Vicky Mkhawana 13’, 31’, Michael Dokunmu 76’)
Zambia……….(1) 2 (Emmanuel Mwanza, 45’, 48’)
04 May 2023 – The South African under-17 men’s national team claimed an all-important victory over COSAFA rivals Zambia in a crunch 2023 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations group match at the Stade Mohamed-Hamlaoui stadium in Algeria on Wednesday night.
The young South African made a positive start to the match when they took the lead as early as the 13th minute with a sensational strike from Vicky Mkhawana. The team remained in control for most parts of the opening period and Mkhawana completed his brace and extended the lead in the 31st minute.
With the intensity of the match increasing, Zambia coach Bakala Ian made a few substitutions and it seemed to work in their favour as Emmanuel Mwanza pulled one back for the U17 COSAFA champions on the stroke of halftime. The two sides went into the break with South Africa leading 2-1.
Mwanza completed his brace soon after the restart in the 48th minute to bring Zambia level and make the encounter an open game that could have gone either way.
Coach Duncan Crowie’s charges were not going to give up easily and created numerous opportunities, but they could not get it right in the final third of the pitch.
Michael Dokunmu’s strike in the 76th minute finally secured the three points for Amajimbos and placed the team in a good position to progress to the next round.
Crowie said it was important for his team to show that they can play and they did so admirably when they managed to stop Zambia from creating opportunities.
“It was more than a fight. We were 2-0 up and they came back and made it very difficult for us, putting us under pressure with the deep and long balls that put our defense under pressure,” he said. “But as I mentioned to the guys, it was important for us to show that we can play. If they did not allow us to play,then at least we show we can fight, and I say fight in a very a nice way so that we ensure they [Zambia] don’t create opportunities.
“With all the pressure that they put us under, I don’t think they really created clear-goal cut goal-scoring opportunities, which is very good.
“Like I did the other night [after the defeat to Morocco in the opening match of the tournament], I will sit up again and cut clips to make it clear to the players what they did right and what they can still improve on in preparation for our next game against Nigeria.”
Amajimbos are currently third in Group B and will play the final group game against Nigeria on Saturday, 6 May, which will determine who joins Morocco in the quarterfinals of the competition.