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ZIMBABWE scored three goals within 18 minutes to defeat Zambia 3-1 in Harare on Sunday and claim a record fourth Cosafa Challenge title.
The match was played at a furious pace before a capacity crowd of 30000 at Rufaro Stadium, that included President Robert Mugabe, and produced plenty of goalmouth action.
The contract of Zimbabwe coach and former national team captain Sunday Chidzambwa (formerly Marimo) expired on the eve of the game and he was unsure about his future with the "Brave Warriors".
"I cannot say what the future holds, but if I remain as national coach I would like to retain these footballers and build a strong squad for the 2012 African Nations Cup qualifiers," he said.
Zimbabwe were eliminated after the second phase of the 2010 World Cup-African Nations Cup qualifying competition, finishing third behind Guinea and Kenya in a four-team group.
"This was our toughest match of the tournament because Zambia won more possession. The difference was we utilised our chances and I felt by half time that the match was over," Chidzambwa said.
France-born Zambia coach Herve Renard said only a few of the vanquished players would be in the squad for a crucial 2010 World Cup-Nations Cup tie against Rwanda on November 14 in Kigali.
"Zimbabwe played well and were the more determined side. We made mistakes at the back as the first two goals we conceded came from long balls and my central defenders were not alert."
Mozambique finished third on Saturday with a 1-0 win over South Africa in Bulawayo, courtesy of a goal seven minutes from time by Momed Hagi.
The annual competition, which was launched in 1997 as the Castle Cup, has had several formats, and Angola, South Africa and Zambia have each lifted the silverware three times. - Sapa-AFP