2019 Cosafa Cup: Zambia beat Botswana 1-0 in final to lift trophy
Zambia returned to winning ways in the Cosafa Cup on Saturday as Tapson Kaseba scored the only goal of the game in a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Botswana in the final of the annual southern African championship.
It was the fifth time that Zambia had been crowned regional champions but their first success since 2013.
It took until the 78th minute to decide the outcome at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday as Botswana lost in a final for a second time.
Botswana, who were also beaten in the 2016 decider, did not take advantage of their first half dominance against a new-look Zambian side, led by Aggrey Chiyangi after their failure to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.
But it was Zambia who came closest in the opening 45 minutes as forward Lazarus Kambole lobbed the ball over the head of Botswana goalkeeper Ezekiel Morake but bounced against the outside of the post.
Botswana had the first chance of the second period when Segolame Boy's free-kick forced a good save out of Zambia goalkeeper Sebastian Mwange.
But with 12 minutes left Zambia finally got the breakthrough when Kaseba stooped to score with his head.
The goal hero could have had a second shortly after, and put the result beyond doubt, but he struck the crossbar.
On Friday, holders Zimbabwe ensured the bronze medal by edging Lesotho 5-4 on post-match penalties after a 2-2 draw in the third place play-off.
Zimbabwe were missing many of their leading players, who had flown out for a friendly international against Nigeria in Lagos on Thursday, but still had enough to grab an early lead through Tafadzwa Rusike.
Lesotho found an equaliser just past the half-hour mark through Jane Thaba-Ntso.
Leeroy Mavunga breezed through the Lesotho defence before producing a sublime finish to make it 2-1 after 61 minutes but the Basotho levelled through substitute Tsoarelo Bereng who was the only player to miss in the subsequent post-match penalty shootout.
Gerald Phiri of Malawi was named Player of the Tournament.