By Tafadzwa Chigandiwa
South Africa (SA) men’s senior national soccer team, Bafana Bafana have been crowned the 2021 COSAFA Cup Tournament champions after beating guests Senegal on a penalty shoot-out at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium Sunday evening.
Bafana Bafana clinched the trophy after defeating the Lions of Teranga who were this year’s guest nation, 5-4 on penalties.
The winner of the tournament was decided through a penalty shoot, after both teams failed to find the back of the net during the regular time, resulting in a nil all draw.
Bafana finished the tournament without conceding a goal in a 90 minutes match and in their road to the final, they scored 9 goals in total.
During group stages games, the hosts (SA) beat Botswana 1-0 in their tournament’s opener, then defeated Eswatini with the same score line in their tournament’s second match.
In the group stages’ last match, Bafana Bafana thrashed Lesotho 4-0 before defeating Mozambique 3-0 in their semi-final encounter.
The four wins saw stand-in coach Morena Ramoreboli and his troops maintaining a fine form throughout the tournament, despite the absence of their newly appointed headcoach Hugo Brook.
Moreover, Bafana also dominated the tournament’s individual accolades.
Captain Veli Mothwa was crowned as the goalkeeper of the tournament, Victor Letsoalo won the top goalscorer award and Amazulu FC’s Siyethemba Sithebe scooped the Player of the Tournament gong.
The trio will earn a prize money of R20,000 each but the winners of the tournament will pocket R500,000 and runners-up will get R250,000.
Meanwhile, third and fourth placed teams will get prize money of R150,000 and R100,00 respectively.
Bafana Bafana’s triumph over Senegal means they are now level on COSAFA Cup trophies with defending champions Zambia, five-time winners.
Zimbabwe will remain the tournament’s record winners with six trophies in their name, despite facing a premature elimination.
The Warriors were shown an early exit in the historic 20th edition of COSAFA Cup.
They got knocked out of the competition in the group stages without registering a single win, though on paper the Zdravko Logarusic’s side were tipped favourates.