The Sunday Mail
Zambia and South Africa booked their places at next year’s Total Afcon Under-17 finals after making it to the finals of the ongoing Cosafa Cup Under-17 Championship in South Africa.
With only two teams from the region expected to make it to the Afcon finals, scheduled to be held in Morocco next year, this year’s Under-17 championships also acted as qualifiers for the continental football showcase.
This year’s Cosafa Cup Under-17 Championship finalists were guaranteed automatic qualification to the continental football showcase.
And, following the disqualification of Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Botswana and Comoros from the championships for fielding over-aged players, Zambia, Malawi, Angola and hosts South Africa were left to slug it out for the two slots.
Having mauled Malawi 6-2 on Tuesday, Zambia was the first team to secure a place in Sunday’s Cosafa Cup Under-17 Championship finals.
The battle for the last spot at the 2021 Under-17 Afcon was left for South Africa and Malawi, with the hosts having an upper hand in the qualification going into the final round of matches of the round-robin matches on Thursday.
South Africans only needed a single point to secure a place in the finals, while Malawi needed a five-goal aggregate win over Angola in the event that South Africa had lost against Zambia.
Despite the hosts finding themselves on the losing end against Zambia, Malawi failed to capitalize on South Africa’s loss.
They lost heavily to Angola (7-1).
The Malawi defeat eventually saw South Africa booking a place in Cosafa Cup Championships final and automatically securing a place at the 2021 Afcon Under-17 finals in North Africa.