Zimbabwe have beaten a gallant Democratic Republic of Congo 3-2 in a thrilling Women’s African Challenge Cup game at the Wanderers Centre of Football on Saturday. The Zimbabweans won 10-5 on aggregate to clinch the inaugural trophy.
It was a willing affair with both teams showing terrific foot skills and clever movement. There were seven yellow cards issued as both teams went hard at the contest.
Zainab Mohammadi was outstanding up front for Zimbabwe, skilfully tormenting her opponents with neat footwork and clever movements. She was ably supported by Vida Opoku-Agyemang and Rota Boateng who were both excellent through the middle.
Bronwyn O’Brien and Brittany Duggan were outstanding for DR Congo who bravely held on despite wave after wave of Zimbabwean attack.
DR Congo started off well with Duggan winning the ball and playing her team into attack. However Zimbabwe got into the game with Opoku-Agyemang winning a penalty after a dangerous ball into the box drew a handball from DR Congo.
She promptly despatched the penalty to give Zimbabwe the early lead. Mohammadi then got to work with some neat footwork seeing her get into open space, before despatching a curling shot which was just out of the reach of DR Congo’s goalkeeper to double the Zimbabwean’s lead.
It was 2-0 at halftime with Zimbabwe looking well on top. It would have been more but for some excellent defence from O’Brien who made some crucial tackles and intercepts to keep her team in it.
The second half saw a determined DR Congo come out fighting. They took the game physically to Zimbabwe with Mohammadi coming in for some treatment from Congo who were determined to shut her down.
Duggan was enterprising as Congo tried to get a goal back. Their reward came when a delightful Duggan pass up the middle saw Congo open their account.
Congo’s game went up a notch, with Duggan creating a few chances. However some individual brilliance from Boateng who pounced on a loose ball before neatly tucking away Zimbabwe’s third.
Congo wouldn’t give in and netted a consolation late on to set up an exciting finish.
The game kept the boisterous crowd entertained throughout and gave plenty of proof that a Women’s African Cup may just be around the corner.
The men’s African Cup final was a classic with Ghana beating South Sudan on penalties after a drama charged game ended 5-5 after extra time.