Two days after Zambia’s 2019 U20 AFCON qualifying exit, their junior compatriots have also failed defend their COSAFA U17 crown consquentlely ending their quest for 2019 U17 AFCON qualification.
Zambia Under-17 blew away a 1-0 lead against South Africa to lose 2-1 in their final Group B decider at the tournament Mauritius is hosting from July 19 to 29.
South Africa qualify on 7 points but Zambia exit second in Group B on 4 points and have not amassed enough points to stay in contention for the best runners-up slot up for grabs.
Hosts Mauritius stay in that race on 6 points after finishing second in Group A but await the outcome of Wednesday’s Group C clash between 2nd placed Malawi and 3rd placed Swaziland who are tied on 3 points heading into their shadow playoff.
Meanwhile, Zambia took the lead in the 7th minute through Vincent Kalinda but South Africa replied five minutes later through Thando Buthelezi.
The two sides were deadlocked at 1-1 until the last ten mnutes of the match when the appropriately named Boitumelo Radiopane blessed South Africa with the winning goal.
South Africa match on to the semi-finals to face the best runners-up and stay on course in the battle for a record third COSAFA U17 title that will clinch them COSAFA’s sole qualifying place in the 2019 U17 AFCON final.
Zambia’s 2017 COSAFA U17 Cup win was their first one in the competition.