Angola has always produced top talent for the Southern African region with numerous excellent displays in the COSAFA junior events, and an appearance at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
So it will be exciting to see the talent they can assemble for the CAF African Schools Football Championship | COSAFA Qualifiers, Zimbabwe 2023 to be played in Harare from December 14-16.
Angola will enter Boys’ and Girls’ teams this year having been represented in 2022 by Rosinha among the boys, who finished an admirable third.
This year the competition has been opened up to not just single schools representing their nations, but the best of the players from the national phase of the competition.
A Boys’ team of top talent will be coached by Emiliana Lucamba, while a Girls’ side will be led by Tomas Lima.
“We consider this tournament important because it opens up a perspective of competition for this Uncder-15 age group and allows the sport to become more popular in schools,” says Miller Gomes, Technical Director of the Angolan Football Federation.
“It will allow for greater interaction with other cultures and strengthen the spirit of solidarity and citizenship.”
Gomes says it will be a great learning curve for the players, many of whom will be jetting out of the country for the first time and have certainly not played at such a high level before.
“The Boys’ team mostly comes from a province in the interior of the country, which for the first time has competed at this level,” he says. “While the Girls’ team comes from a remote region of the country’s capital (Luanda), with little local competition at schools level.”
Angola is the home of current COSAFA President Artur de Almeida e Silva, who has also welcomed the return of the competition for a second year.
“This is much more than a school’s competition, it is a first introduction to international football for the vast majority of these players,” Artur said. “The Under-15 age group category is a crucial one and gives these young players a taste of what it takes to challenge their peers in the region.
“We applaud CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe for his vision in introducing this vital competition and will build on the success of the last competition, where we (COSAFA) also were honoured to host the continental finals.
“We wish all the competing teams the best of luck and thank the Zimbabwe Football Association for agreeing to play host this year, and all other stakeholders involved.”
The draw for the 10-team CAF African Schools Football Championship | COSAFA Qualifier will be made in Harare ahead of the tournament.