COSAFA general secretary Sue Destombes has commended the Local Organising Committee on the progress made ahead of the 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships that will be staged in Kitwe, Zambia from December 6-16.
Destombes is confident that with a little over five weeks to go to the start of the competition, everything will be in place by kick-off as African champions Zambia look to defend the title they won in South Africa last year.
The matches will be played at two venues in Kitwe, the Arthur Davies Stadium and Nkana Stadium, with the potential for the final to be staged at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
“The clubs and owners of the Arthur Davies Stadium and Nkana Stadium are to be complemented for the manner in which these facilities are maintained,” Destombes says.
“COSAFA used both of these venues during the 2013 COSAFA Castle Cup and of course these teams play high-level football in Zambia and regularly participate in CAF Inter-Club competitions, so we expected nothing less than the good facilities which we found four years later.
“Arthur Davies have embarked on the upgrade of their floodlights and we have been assured that this work will be completed before the start of the COSAFA Under-20 Championships. Minor maintenance works are required at Nkana Stadium but in general both venues are ready to host the tournament.”
Destombes confirmed that the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) have made a special request for the final.
“FAZ have requested that the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola plays host to the Final of the tournament,” she revealed. Destombes also added that the training facilities have been given the green light: “Suitable grounds in both Kitwe and Ndola have been inspected and approved.”
Destombes has also commented on the accommodation for teams and officials, which she says will be split between Kitwe and Ndola. “Accommodating 12 teams in one area is no mean feat, added to which acceptable standards and budget must be maintained,” she says.
“For this competition COSAFA usually houses the teams at a university or similar facility but this has not been possible due to the ongoing university programme in December.
“We have thus far finalised the accommodation for six teams, the referees and the COSAFA delegation and General Assembly delegates all in Kitwe.
“The balance of the teams will be accommodated in Ndola and COSAFA, together with hosts FAZ, are in the process of finalising these facilities. Ndola, of course, recently hosted the Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations in February this year.”
Destombes says she is confident all outstanding issues will resolved shortly.
“COSAFA is confident that any outstanding issues will be dealt with timeously and we know that we will have a support of the Mayoral Office of the City of Kitwe, as well as the Government of the Republic of Zambia, which have always been supportive of COSAFA and the Southern Africa region.”