TANZANIA U-17 Girls are new COSAFA Cup champions after defeating Zambia 4-3 on spotkick in a tense final at Nelson Mandela Stadium here in Port Elizabeth.
The winner had to be decided on the penalty shootout after the teams tied 1-1 at the end of the thrilling 90 minutes.
Zambia, who beat the Tanzanian Girls 2-1 in the quarter final were the first to open the goal account in the 19th minute, and held their slim lead until the end of the first half.
Zambia looked certain to end victors as they held on till almost the last minute when Tanzania equalized in the stoppage time.
Tanzania equalized through a spotkick after the team’s key striker Aisha Masaka was fouled inside the box and the referee warded Tanzania a penalty.
Koku Kipanga expertly converted the spotkick and the match had to be decided on penalty shootout.
Gallant Tanzanian Girls converted 4 penalties against 3 netted by the Zambians.
The scorers of the penalties for Tanzania were Joyce Lema, Koku Kipanga, Emiliana Mdimu and Mwamvua Haruna while Aisha Masaka’s shot was saved by the Zambian goalkeeper.
Besides bringing home the COSAFA throne, Tanzania’s striker Aisha Masaka, who netted 10 goals, was the tournament top scorer.
Tanzania U-17 Girls sailed to the final after beating Comoro 5-1, South Africa 6-1 and Zimbabwe 10-1 but lost 2-1 to Zambia in their quarter final game.
Speaking after the match, the team’s skipper Irene Kisisa hailed her team mates and the technical bench for the success.
She said it was not an easy victory since they faced stiff opposition from Zambians.
“We have made it as we promised and we are coming back with COSAFA Cup,” she said. She said the victory of the Tanzania U-20 last year inspired them to work hard and win at the end.
Ten teams took part in this year’s COSAFA Cup for the senior discipline while the U-17 category attracted only five teams.