The two venues for the 2018 MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships have been confirmed as the best young stars in the Southern African region converge on Kitwe and Mufulira in Zambia from December 2-14.
It will be the second year in a row that the prestigious event has been hosted on the Copperbelt after South Africa lifted the trophy in 2017 following an excellent tournament that showcased the quality of age-group football in the region.
Here is a run-down of the two venues that will be used in 2018:
About: The Nkana Stadium in Kitwe has recently had two facelifts and is an excellent facility to host international football matches.
The venue is the home of Zambia Premier League side Nkana FC and twice in the last five years has had improvements made to it.
It has a long history behind it and in 1959 played host to a friendly between touring English side Bolton Wanderers and Northern Rhodesia.
More lately it was used during the 2013 COSAFA Cup that was hosted in Zambia, including for a quarterfinal that involved the hosts, and the Plate final.
The Nkana Stadium is a multi-purpose venue and has a grass pitch. It will host 15 of the 22 games, including all matches in the knockout rounds.
About: The Shinde Stadium is based in Mufulira, some 45 minutes’ drive from Kitwe and is the home of Zambia’s most decorated Super League side (having won the highest number of cups) Mufulira Wanderers, who have just been promoted back to the Zambian Super League after a bad season in 2017 saw them relegated to Division One.
It is also a multi-purpose venue and the focal-point for the local community in the town, many of who are employed by MOPANI Copper Mines.
It is a community that has produced some of Zambia’s greatest footballers, including former African Footballer of the Year, Kalusha Bwalya, the Katongo brothers Chris and Felix, and Samuel “Zoom” Ndhlovu.
Local side Mufulira Wanderers, who use the stadium, are the most successful team in Zambian football history with 49 trophies, though their last league success came back in 1996.
Their number of league titles, nine, is only surpassed by Nkana FC from Kitwe (12), showing the enormous success of teams from the Copperbelt down the years.