Gift Motupa scored two penalties to spare the blushes of goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse as South Africa defeated Botswana 3-2 in the final of the 2016 COSAFA Castle Cup at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek on Saturday.
Two howlers from new SuperSport United keeper Pieterse had Botswana level going into the closing minutes‚ but Orlando Pirates man Motupa twice kept his cool from the spot.
Thabiso Kutumela grabbed the other goal for South Africa‚ while Onkabetse Makgantai and Kabelo Seakanyeng netted for The Zebras.
The victory is a record-equalling fourth in the COSAFA Castle Cup for South Africa‚ drawing them level with Zambia and Zimbabwe at the top of the all-time winners table. Botswana are still looking for their first major trophy.
South Africa had made slow starts in their opening two matches of the tournament‚ but were the quicker off the mark in the final and had the ball in the back of the net inside three minutes‚ only for Judas Moseamedi to be correctly blown up for offside.
But it was Botswana who hit the front with a goal that saw Pieterse stand static‚ watching Makgantai’s 35-yard speculative effort on 16 minutes fly over his head‚ the second time in the tournament he has been lobbed.
It was also the third time that South Africa had fallen behind in the competition‚ but they did not let up the intensity of their play and continued to pour forward in waves.
They were rewarded on 33 minutes when Botswana captain Boitumelo Mafoko felled the lively Moseamedi in the box and Motupa stepped up to coolly convert from the resultant penalty.
Moseamedi thought he was clear on goal to grab South Africa’s second after a Botswana back-pass‚ but was inexplicably flagged for offside as the match officials botched their call.
Maphosa Modiba had a good chance from the edge of the box on the stroke of halftime after being set up by the impressive Motupa‚ but completely miscued his effort well wide of goal.
Botswana almost claimed the lead again when Lesego Galenamotlhale thundered a shot goalwards‚ but with Pieterse beaten the ball crashed against he crossbar and away to safety.
But it was South Africa who scored next as substitute Kutumela had a simple tap-in after being set-up by Motupa following a quickly taken free-kick‚ though he looked to be offside as Botswana protested furiously to no avail.
Pieterse’s poor night got worse four minutes later when he fumbled would looked a simple free-kick take from Seakanyeng’s set-piece into the net in what was another horror moment for him.
But South Africa were given the opportunity to regain the lead when former Bloemfontein Celtic midfielder Joel Mogorosi handled in the box and Motupa stepped up again to net from the spot.
Modiba had a chance to make the game safe late on but blasted his shot well wide.
Botswana coach Peter Butler called the refereeing performance of Zambia’s Janny Sikazwe “shameful and disugusting”‚ though both sides could have their complaints.
Earlier‚ Swaziland picked up the bronze medal for the third time in their history with a 1-0 victory over DR Congo thanks to a fine strike by Sabelo Ndzinisa.
Namibia claimed the Plate competition on Friday after University of Pretoria midfielder Ronald Ketjijere slotted a penalty for the only goal of the game.