Lavatsa gets brace, Kenya top group in Cosafa Cup

AFP, JOHANNESBURG

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 - Page 18

An Edwin Lavatsa brace gave Kenya a 2-0 win over Swaziland on Tuesday and top place in Group B of the Cosafa Cup.

Lesotho netted in stoppage-time to draw 3-3 with Botswana in a thrilling second half of a double-header in the Zambian town of Kitwe.

Jerome Ramatlhakwane scored a hat-trick for Botswana at the Arthur Davies Stadium, but Thabelo Tale leveled on 93 minutes.

Kenya, many of whose stars were playing a third game in as many days, top the table with four points going into the final round today.

Lesotho and Botswana have two points each and are also in contention for first place and a quarter-final date with former winners Angola.

Swaziland cannot finish first, but could decide who does as they face Lesotho in Lusaka, while Kenya and Botswana face off in Kitwe.

Fears that three matches in three days would take its toll proved unfounded as they were far too strong for Swaziland.

Lavatsa struck after just five minutes on a warm, clear mid-winter afternoon in the heart of the Zambian copper-mining region.

Racing on to a through pass, he stabbed the ball past goalkeeper Nhlanhla Gwebu, star of a 0-0 weekend draw with Botswana.

A Lavatsa volley into the corner of the net nine minutes after halftime confirmed the Harambee Stars’ supremacy. The Democratic Republic of the Congo-based Ramatlhakwane struck after five and 51 minutes to give the Zebras a two-goal advantage.

However, Lesotho drew level through a Ralekoti Mokhahlane penalty and a Nkau Lerotholi header.

Rattled Botswana regained the lead 11 minutes from time when Ramatlhakwane completed the first hat-trick of this tournament.

However, Tale grabbed his second goal of the 15-day championship to earn Lesotho a point and keep alive hopes that the Crocodiles can progress.

Namibia won Group A on Monday by coming from behind twice to defeat the Seychelles 4-2 at Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.

The Brave Warriors face depleted South Africa in a last-eight lineup completed by title-holders Zimbabwe against Malawi and Zambia against Mozambique.