South Africa’s Banyana Banyana were crowned the 2017 COSAFA Women Champions after beating Zimbabwe 2-1, finding their winner at the very death of the final minute played at Barbourfields Stadium.
The first half was a cagey affair although Banyana Banyana were the better side creating more clear cut opportunities.
They were to be duly rewarded in the 46th minute after a quick break by skillful Chrestina Athembie Kgatlana caught the Mighty Warriors defence napping for as many times to cooly slot home past a diving Chido Dzingirai.
South Africa, the three time COSAFA champions showed more character taking advantage of the poor defending by the hosts and its was sheer luck and in some instances good goalkeeping by Dzingirai that kept Zimbabwe in the match.
Chief striker, Rutendo Makore was kept under lock and key by Noko Matlou who made sure she never got any breathing space.
There was however no denying her the golden boot as she got her 10th of the tournament with a powerful header off a Sheila Makoto cross in the 72nd minute to level matters for the Mighty Warriors.
When the match seemed to be headed for the lottery, it was Leandra Smeda who broke the hearts of the multitudes of Zimbabwean fans with a header following chaotic defending by the hosts.
The goal led to wild scenes of celebration from the Banyana Banyana bench as they held on for the remaining 2 added minutes to clinch their fourth COSAFA title.
Besides South Africa lifting the trophy, there were a number of team and individual awards dished out.
Kenya walked away with the fair play award, while goalkeeper of the tournament went to Zimbabwe’s Dzingirai.
Makore got her moment to shine as the top goal scorer for her whooping 10 goals.
The biggest individual award of player of the tournament went to the exciting South African winger Kgatlana.
The tournament also saw Zambia landing third spot after getting the better of visiting Kenya.