South Africa’s Amajimbos Under-17 football side ended as runners-up in the COSAFA Championships in Port Louis, Mauritius at the weekend.
Angola claimed their first regional title at this age-group level after beating South Africa 1-0 in the final played at the Stade St Francois Xavier.
Osvaldo Capemba scored the only goal of the game in a match which had few clear-cut chances for either side and following the victory Angola will now represent the region at the 2019 African Under-17 Championships in Tanzania.
They will hope to use that opportunity to qualify for the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Peru in what will be their fourth appearance at the continental showpiece event.
Capemba netted the winner inside the opening five minutes, after which Angola controlled the play with their disciplined defending and excellent organisation.
He almost struck again in the first minute of the second half, but was denied by a combination of the post and South African goalkeeper Bontle Molefe.
South Africa’s Amajimbos had two shouts for handball in the Angolan box that were turned down by referee Retselisitsoe Molise from Lesotho, but in truth, they failed to create enough opportunities against the robust Angolans.
The Young Palancas Negras are the fifth nation to lift the COSAFA Under-17 Championship trophy after South Africa (two wins), Malawi, Namibia and Zambia.
They had a 100% winning record in the competition and also netted a healthy 15 goals in their five games, while only conceding once to be crowned worthy champions. The Amajimbos were also beaten finalists in 2016, making it two silver medals in three years for them in this championship. They also finished as runners-up to Malawi in 2001.
Namibia finished with the bronze medal after a 2-1 success over hosts Mauritius in the third-fourth play-off earlier in the day as they added to the gold they won two years ago.
The competition’s top-scorer Prins Tjiueza netted his sixth goal of the tournament to give the Young Brave Warriors an early lead, but Mauritius levelled when Jeremy Kawoa found the back of the net.
Namibia scored again just before halftime through Penouua Kandjii and managed to hold on in the second period for the victory.
It ends an excellent U17 competition that had 12 teams in the field for the first time ever, and was staged in association with the Confederation of African Football and the UEFA Assist programme.
The next regional tournament will be the COSAFA Women’s Championship to be staged in South Africa from 26 August to 6 September.
Photo: Amajimbos player Morapedi Nelson Ralenkoane shields the ball from Gaspar Morais of Angola, by Gavin Barker/BackpagePix