Namibia has been drawn against Angola, Seychelles and Mauritius in Group-C of this year’s COSAFA Under-20 Championships, scheduled to take place in South Africa from December 7 to 16.
The competition’s preliminary round draw was conducted yesterday in Moruleng, South Africa and sees the prestigious youth tournament making a welcome return back to the COSAFA fold since its last edition held in 2013.
Hosts and defending champions South Africa will face tough competition from neighbours Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana in Group-A of southern Africa’s biggest football spectacle that brings together the best young talented footballers from the region.
Group-B, which boasts Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, is the most exciting, as it would possibly see one of the competition’s heavyweights take an early bow. All three teams are widely considered as serious title contenders and an early exit by any of them would steal some shine from the competition.
Meanwhile, Group-D consists of Mozambique, Comoros Islands and East African guest participant Rwanda, who would be competing in place of this year’s absentees Madagascar.
With only the top team in each group progressing to the semifinals, there has been a slight change to the arrangement of the top teams in Groups B and D, after it was also announced that the second round of matches would see a third game, as a crossover fixture between those two pools to ensure that competing sides each get to play three times.
The top team in Group B will play the second team in Group D and vice-versa. The group matches will start on December 7 and will be completed by December 13. The semifinals will take place a day later, before the remaining teams enjoy a small recess.
The third-place playoff and final of the competition will then both be played on December 16, which is a public holiday in South Africa. The matches will be played at two venues: the Mogwase Stadium and Moruleng Stadium, with the latter being used exclusively from the semifinals onwards.
Zambia has been the most successful side in the history of the COSAFA Under-20 Cup, with 10 victories to their name, followed by Zimbabwe with six. South Africa has claimed the title on five occasions, with Madagascar being the only other team to have lifted the trophy back in 2005.
– Additional reporting: cosafa.com