South Africa’s National Under-23 side are now a foot in to this year’s quadrennial U-23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), after beating Zimbabwe 5-0 in their third round, first leg of the qualifiers which took place in Orlando Stadium on Friday night.
Goals by brace scorer Luther Singh, who scored in each half of the match, Kobamelo Kodisang Teboho Mokoena and Lyle Foster, were enough to give the home side the needed advantage going into the second leg of the AFCON qualifiers.
The second leg match will take place on Tuesday (10 September) in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe at Barbourfields Stadium.
Winners of this round will automatically qualify for this year’s U-23 AFCON tournament, which also doubles up as a Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifiers, set to take place in Egypt from 8 – 22 November.
South Africa’s National Under-23 head coach David Notoane stated leading up to this tie that his charges could afford to be complacent and underestimate their opponents, if they were to come out in with a winning result in this match.
And Notoane’s charges did just that. They threw everything at their opponents while living no room for error in their defensive third to be infiltrated.
South Africa’s first goal came in the 17th minute when Forster released debutant National Under-23 Kobamelo Kodisang who was making a surging run into the 18-yard box unmarked.
The Sporting Clube de Braga FC’s attacker unleashed a powerful shot which proved difficult for Mapisa Martin to deal with it between the sticks.
18 minutes later, Foster produced his second assist of the night when he found, this time, lurking Singh who pulled a rocket of a shot inside the 18-yard box as well to make it 2-0.
Teboho Mokoena made it 3-0 with a piledriver far out the 18-yard box to give South Africa the comfortable lead going into the halftime break.
In the second half, Zimbabwe played with more discipline in their defensive third as compared to their performance from the first. However, that did not derail South Africa as Singh scored his second of the night in the 60th minute before Foster wrapped things up with a beautiful goal of his own just six minutes later.
It was Sipho Mbule who provided Foster with a beautiful assist, seeing that the Monaco forward was in a better position to take a shot compared to him.
South Africa (4) 5
Kobamelo Kodisang 17, Luther Singh 35, 60, Teboho Mokoena 40, Lyle Foster 66