A disallowed goal, a denied penalty, fouls not blown by the referees were top of the list of complaints that guest nation Senegal had after going down to Namibia on Day 2 of the 2021 COSAFA Cup.
In yet another action-packed day of the Southern Africa regional tournament, it was six-time winners Zimbabwe that took to the field first against neighbours Mozambique. Washington Arubi made a brilliant save from Esyevao Novela, Francisco Simbine missed when it seemed easier to score and Zimbabwe skipper Ovidy Karuru put his header wide with what would have been the winner in the last minutes of this exciting stalemate. The new format of two groups leaves both nations with enough games to re-group and make meaningful strides to the semi-finals.
Marcel Papama opened the scoring for Namibia in the second match of the day after Senegal lost possession recklessly early in the game. The guest nation had started the match all guns blazing and inevitably left the back door open. Lamane Diene had the West Africans back level within minutes, as he controlled a hard-to-hit rebound after a cross had caused confusion in the Namibia box. Most of Diene’s had their hands up in protest, appealing for a penalty when the ball hit the net.
Burdened with language barriers, the Senegalese did see red, but it was not for one of its players. A visibly unhappy and finger-waving Issa Aidara, the Assistant Coach, was sent to the stands for dissent.
Senegal will now have a day to cool down and get accustomed to the Southern African way before they play Mozambique in what coach Francois Koto called ‘cup finals’ on their way to the knockout stage.
Day three of the 20th edition of the COSAFA Cup will see defending champions, Zambia, begin their quest for back-to-back titles with a match against pointless Lesotho. Hosts South Africa will look to put the illness of head coach Helman Mkhalele aside and get a second group stage win against table-topping Eswatini.