Zambia’s Chipolopolo were crowned the 2022 COSAFA Cup champions for the joint-record sixth time after a late 1-0 win over Namibia in extra-time on Sunday evening.
Chipolopolo made three changes after edging Senegal in the semi-finals, as goalkeeper Charles Kalumba, Saddam Phiri and Joshua Mutale were recalled while the Brave Warriors were unchanged from their narrow win over Mozambique.
Zambia were aggressive in the early exchanges, as Kelvin Kampamba almost opened the scoring with a rocket from outside the box that flashed wide of the top corner.
With chances hard to come by in the last third for both sides, Kampamba fancied his chances for Zambia just before the hour-mark with a looping strike from range that sailed over the crossbar and that became the theme thereafter, as the first stanza did not produce goal threats.
The Brave Warriors were defending deep early in the second stanza but Aprocius Petrus had a chance to break the deadlock just before the hour-mark with a curled set-piece from a diagonal angle that missed the far post narrowly wide.
Chipolopolo continued to press Namibia high and Albert Kangwanda had a good opportunity on 72 minutes after going through in the box but he curled his strike wide of the far post.
Moses Sichone made an attacking change just after that as Patrick Gonwe replaced Kapumbu, while Namibia also refreshed their front line in the closing stages as Solomon Omseb took the place of Bethuel Muzeu.
The sides were spirited to find the winner in the dying minutes but they could not be separated in regulation time and extra-time was required.
Namibia were more energised in the early stages of extra-time and Immanuel Heita had an unbelievable chance after Kalumaba parried a free-kick on his path in the box but he ballooned his shot over the crossbar from close range.
Zambia got back into the game in the second period of extra-time and Albert Kangwanda sensationally broke the deadlock in the last eight minutes with a dipping strike from range that came off the top post and ricocheted off goalkeeper Edward Maova.
Absalom Limbondi should have equalised for Namibia three minutes later after going clear on goal in the box but his shot was thwarted by Kalumba, as Chipolopolo held on to equal Zimbabwe’s record of six titles.
Power Dynamos diminutive winger cum midfielder Joshua Mutale was man of the match.