By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
Warriors’ legend Peter Ndlovu remains the Cosafa Cup’s all-time leading goal scorer with seven goals to his credit despite last featuring in the regional tournament in 2004 when he scored a hat trick against Swaziland.
Cosafa released the tournament’s top marksmen from each of the 14-member nations ahead of this year’s competition in South Africa next month.
This year’s event will run from May 27 to June 9 and Zimbabwe, who will join in the quarter-finals’ stage, will be aiming to win an unprecedented sixth title.
The Warriors’ first match will be against Group B winners, which has Angola, Botswana, Mauritius and Malawi.
According to the draw, hosts South Africa will take on the winner of Group A, which has Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros Islands and Seychelles. The other two quarter-finals will see four-time winners Zambia clashing with Namibia, while Lesotho take on Swaziland.
The top marksmen per country in the Cosafa Cup
Peter Ndlovu (Zimbabwe) 7 goals
Ndlovu always made himself available for the Cosafa Cup despite playing in the big leagues in England and his goals return was impressive, stretching over some seven seasons. His hat-trick in 2004 against Swaziland were the final goals he scored in the regional championship.
Manuel ‘Tico-Tico’ Bucuane (Mozambique) 6 goals
Tico-Tico is one of the leading strikers from the Cosafa region and displayed all his talents in the Cosafa Cup, with goals between 1997 and 2004. He is a legend of Southern Africa.
Felix Badenhorst (Swaziland) 6 goals
Badenhorst was in superb form in the 2016 Cosafa Cup with five goals as Swaziland finished third. He added another goal in 2017 and will be looking to take his tally further this year.
Sarivahy Vombola (Madagascar) 5 goals
All of Vombola’s goals came in the 2015 Cosafa Cup, where he was in electric form and took the Malagasy to third place. He has since battled to repeat that form.
Maile Tlale (Lesotho) 5 goals
Tlale shone in the 2013 Cosafa Cup with four goals and got another in 2015 as he showed his prowess in the box.
Collins Mbesuma (Zambia) 5 goals
Mbesuma is one of the best strikers to come out of Southern Africa, who might have achieved more were it not for crippling knee injuries that stunted his career. He scored four goals in the 2005 Cosafa Cup and also found the back of the net in 2003.
Congo Hindjou, Deon Hotto (Namibia) 5 goals
Hindjou was a star of the Namibian side that featured in the early years of the Cosafa Cup, while Hotto has been integral to their success of late, including when they lifted the trophy in 2015. Hotto could yet add to his tally in 2018.
Fabrice Akwa (Angola) 5 goals
Akwa was a star striker for Angola at the turn of the century, who turned out for Portuguese giants Benfica, among other overseas clubs. He scored a hat-trick against Mauritius in 2006 to go with goals in 2000 and 2001
Philip Zialor (Seychelles) 4 goals
All of Zialor’s goals in the Cosafa Cup came in one game as Seychelles stunned Mauritius with a 7-0 victory, still the largest win in the history of the competition. His four goals in a single game is also a Cosafa record!
Jerome Ramatlhakwane (Botswana) 4 goals
Ramatlhakwane has been the leading marksman for the Botswana side over the last decade and kept that form in the Cosafa Cup, netting a hat-trick against Lesotho in 2013
Kersley Appou (Mauritius) 4 goals
Appou was a lead forward for the Mauritians in the early years of the tournament, playing between 2000 and 2007.
Jones Nkhwazi, Esau Kanyenda, Gabadinho Mhango (Malawi) 3 goals
Malawi legend Esau Kanyenda is among the leading marksman for The Flames in the Cosafa Cup and current striker Gabadinho Mhango will be looking to add to his tally in 2018.
Pollen Ndlanya, Patrick Mayo, Katlego Mphela, Teko Modise, Gift Motupa (South Africa) 3 goals
Perhaps because they change their squad so often, South Africa have not found a regular goal-scorer in this competition, but these five players all have three goals to their name.
Ahmed Ali, Mohamed Mouigni (Comoros Islands) 1 goal
Only two players have found the back of the net for the Comoros in their six previous matches in the Cosafa Cup, a record they will definitely be looking to improve on in their return to the showpiece event in 2018. The Chronicle