ON 27 June 2004, former Zimbabwe Warriors’ captain, Peter Ndlovu, scored a first and only memorable hat-trick in a Cosafa Senior Challenge 5-0 victory over Eswatini at Somhlolo National Stadium to become the tournament’s leading goal scorer on eight goals.
At retirement, the Bulawayo Bullet affectionately known as Nsukuzonke, had a haul of five goals against Eswatini including a brace scored in Zimbabwe in the 2-0 win.
For 15 years hundreds of players have featured in the tournament, huffed and puffed in their futile attempt to break the record. On 27 May 2019 it would be equalled by a player from the nation he scored against on his way to the record.
And among the hundreds of players was one Felix Badernhost who had tried so hard to break it, he had cherished a ray of hope to equal it and hopefully eclipse especially after reaching the half a dozen mark with a goal against Zimbabwe at the 2017 edition.
And on Monday Badenhorst realised that dream when he became the joint leading goal-scorer in the history of the Cosafa Cup but could not guide his side to victory as they played to a 2-2 draw with Comoros Islands at the King Zwelithini Stadium.
He scored his eighth goal in the Cosafa Cup to draw level with Zimbabwe legend, Peter Ndlovu, and also struck the post in what ultimately proved a frustrating evening.
Eswatini were back in front five minutes into the second period as their chief goalscoring threat, Badenhorst, smashed the ball home from just inside the box for his record-equalling goal.
Badenhorst headed wide shortly afterwards, and later smashed the ball against the post with a low drive that easily beat the goalkeeper.
Coincidentally, just like the Zimbabwe/Eswatini factor in Ndlovu’s haul in which he scored five in this particular fixture, Badernhost has scored the most against the Warriors with the solitary strike in the 1-2 defeat in 2017, becoming his third Cosafa goal against Zimbabwe and fourth overall in all tournaments.
His overall goal haul against the Warriors all began on 25 March 2016 in the 2017 Total Africa Cup of Nations Group L Match Day 3 qualifier at Somhlolo National Sports Stadium when he outjumped the static backline to plough his powerful header past Tatenda Mukuruva after just three minutes of play.
The match finished 1-1 but the Warriors mauled Sihlangu 4-0 three days later on Easter Monday at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
Badenhorst was to add a brace three months later in Namibia at the Sam Nujoma Stadium on 11 June at the Cosafa edition. A headed opener after 16 minutes of play put Sihlangu ahead before Obadiah Tarumbwa levelled in the 56th minute.
In the 65th minute, Sihlangu then under Harries Madze Bulunga’s successful spell, won a penalty and up stepped the Swallows forward to convert and restore the lead but Ronald Pfumbidzai was to steal a point away with a 78th minute equaliser.
Unfortunately he hit a dot ball at the 2018 edition but lost none of his hope to make a mark.
In 2018, Badenhorst told this correspondent that he cherished scoring against the Warriors of Zimbabwe and was looking forward to another Warriors date while at the same time chasing on the Cosafa scoring record.
When this correspondent mentioned that the Swallows forward was the only player to have scored three times in three matches against the Warriors in the last three years, Badenhorst’s face brightened with joy and an accompanying smile.
“If selected for the Cosafa it will bring lots of memories of my three goals against Zimbabwe especially the brace at the 2016 edition in Namibia. It’s like I have the scoring luck against them and Cosafa is where we are most likely to meet again,” said Badenhorst.