|Lesotho striker Roboama Koloti (right) tussles with South Africa’s |
Siphumelele Mbulu during the 2017 COSAFA Under-20 final...
Lesotho fell just short of claiming its first regional title after a 2-1 loss to South Africa in the final of the 2017 Mopani Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships at the Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe, Zambia on Saturday.
Despite a brilliant long range strike from Rethabile Mokokoane, the Makoanyane XI came out second best in a hard-fought game.
South Africa’s goals were scored by Lyle Foster and Kamogelo Sambo as Amajita claimed their sixth regional title.
In the third-place playoff, North African guest nation Egypt finished third when they beat fellow invitees Uganda 3-1.
In the final, Lesotho didn’t make the best start as Leslie Notši’s side fell behind just five minutes into the game when Foster scored his third goal of the tournament with a neat finish into the bottom corner after striker partner Luvuyo Mkatshana had been tackled in the box.
Things went from bad to worse for Lesotho just before halftime when Amajita made it 2-0 when Kamogelo Sambo bundled the ball home after Keanu Cupido’s close range effort had been parried by substitute Makoanyane XI goalkeeper Silase Kopano.
Lesotho almost found a way back into the game late in the first half when Bonang Mohapi’s freekick struck a post before bouncing away to safety.
But Mohapi’s freekick did give Lesotho confidence and the side came out a different team in the second half.
The Makoanyane XI’s improvement was rewarded in the 59th minute when Rethabile Mokokoane, who had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes, shot from 40-yards and his wonderful striker nestled into the top corner before Sanele Tshabalala could react.
The goal galvanised Lesotho and Notsi’s side could have equalised a few minutes later when Mokoteli Mohapi found himself with an empty net to aim at but he side-footed his shot wide.
Despite their efforts, that would be the closest the Makoanyane XI would come to finding an equaliser.
Consolation for Lesotho was keeper Monaheng Ramalefane being named the goalkeeper of the tournament for his excellent performances while Lesotho also picked up the Fair Play Award.
However, the country’s wait for an international continues.