18.05.2015 22:26 h

Surprise victories for Swaziland, Madagascar

Swaziland and Madagascar upset the FIFA world rankings Monday with surprise Cosafa Cup matchday 2 victories in South African mining town Rustenburg.

The Swazis made light of being 69 places below Tanzania by winning 1-0 in Group B through a Sifiso Mabila goal at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace.

And the Malagasy never looked a side 29 places lower than Lesotho as they triumphed 2-1 thanks to a late Lantonirina Rabehasinmbola goal.

The southern Africa championship kicked off Sunday in the north-west province of South Africa with a 0-0 Group A draw between Namibia and Seychelles followed by a 2-0 win for Zimbabwe over Mauritius.

Defending champions Zambia, South Africa, guests Ghana, Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique automatically qualify for the quarter-finals with the group winners joining them.

Group B favourites Tanzania pressed forward early on against Swaziland without converting several half-chances.

The Swazis gradually settled with veteran skipper Tony Tsabedze industrious in midfield and they went ahead on 43 minutes.

Patience proved vital as an isolated attacker retained possession and when support arrived, the ball was swept across the pitch to overlapping Mabila.

The full-back burst into the penalty area and unleashed a powerful low drive that flew across goalkeeper Deogratias Munish and into the net.

Tanzania disappointed after half-time and the poverty of attempts to level was illustrated 13 minutes from time when a complex free-kick manoeuvre ended with the ball trickling wide nearer the corner flag than the goal.

In the opening game of the double-header, Thapelo Tale punished sloppy defending by Michael Rabeson to put Lesotho ahead after 26 minutes with a close-range shot.

Jeannot Vombola levelled 12 minutes later when slick passing created an opening and he fired the ball past goalkeeper Kholuoe Phasumane at his near post.

Madagascar grew stronger as the game progressed but had to wait until four minutes from time before Rabehasinmbola pounced on a weak headed clearance to strike the winning goal.

Moruleng Stadium in a village 70 kilometres north of Rustenburg hosts a Group A double-header Tuesday with Seychelles playing Zimbabwe before Mauritius meet Namibia.