Zim Mighty Warriors lift Cosafa title

A solitary last gasp goal from Rufaro Machingura scored six minutes before the end of the game ensured a Mighty Warriors victory sending celebration bells ringing among the thousands of fans who attended the match anticipating victory after the Mighty Warriors’ impressive displays in the run up to the final.

The victory ends the South Africans’ stranglehold on the trophy having won the contest since its inception in 2002. The South Africans won the contest in 2002, 2006, and 2008, but were also unfortunate not to have won the match at Rufaro Stadium Saturday having dominated the game throughout the 90 minutes.

Banyana Banyana coach Joseph Khonza said his players did their best but were unfortunate not to have scored. He said he is looking forward for revenge when the two teams meet at the All Africa Games finals in Mozambique in September.

Tanzania who hammered Malawi 3-0 finished as the third best team at the tournament. The Tanzanians participated in the contest through invitation as they are not part of the Cosafa grouping. Tanzania also won the Fair Play Award.

The Mighty Warriors had never beaten Banyana Banyana in any match be it in a tournament or in a friendly game since the country was admitted to international football in 1980. Prior to the match the two teams played two friendly matches with the Mighty Warriors losing 4-0 in South Africa and 2-1 in Harare.

Coach Rosemary Mugadza chose to start her best striking force of Rudo Neshamba and Rufaro Machingura as she sought a glut of goals, but the combination never worked and Neshamba had to be substituted as the two could not breach the South African defence.

Although the South Africans dominated the game throughout, football dictates that it is goals which win matches and in the end it was the Mighty Warriors through Machingura’s goal that carried the day sending thousands of fans into song and dance.

Zimbabwe now has the accolade of being both the senior Cosafa champions and the regional women’s under 20 champions as well.

Zimbabwean coach Rosemary Mugadza said the team had been motivated by the loss in the final of the 2002 tournament at the hands of the same team. She said the preliminary rounds of the All Africa Games had helped a lot in the success of today.