COSAFA confirm prize-money for regional championship

The winning team at the COSAFA Cup 2015 will walk away with a R500 000 (approximately US$42 000) first prize, a significant carrot to be dangled in front of the 14 competing nations.

The regional championship will be played in South Africa from May 17-30 and aside from the best of Southern Africa, will also feature guest nations Ghana and Tanzania.

COSAFA announced the prize-money on Tuesday, which will also see the runners-up claim R250 000 (US$21 000) and the team that claims the bronze medal R125 000 (US$10 000).

The other losing semifinalist will take home R100 000 (US$8 300), while the winner of the Plate competition will receive R75 000 (US$6 250).

But aside from the team prizes there are also three individual awards for outstanding players at the tournament.

The Most Valuable Player, Golden Boot winner for most goals and Goalkeeper of the tournament will each receive R20 000 (US$1 650).

It takes the total pot of prizes over the R1.1-million and that means there is plenty of incentive for teams and players alike.

The COSAFA Cup 2015 will be played at two venues in South Africa’s North West Province – Olympia Park in Rustenburg and the Moruleng Stadium.

The competition sees 14 teams enter this year, including guest nations Ghana, who finished runners up at the 2015 African Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea, and Tanzania.

Eight teams enter the first round pool stage, split into two groups each containing four sides. They compete on a round robin bases with the top teams in each pool advancing to the quarterfinals.

Group A contains Zimbabwe, Namibia, Seychelles and Mauritius, while Group B has Tanzania, Swaziland, Lesotho and Madagascar.

The top six teams according to the FIFA World Rankings enter at the quarterfinal stage. Hosts South Africa take on Botswana, Mozambique clash with Malawi, Ghana play the winner of Group B and defending champions Zambia wait for the winners of Group A.

The losing quarterfinal teams compete in the Plate competition, with the winners advancing in the Cup.

In all 23 matches are played over 13 days of competition

The COSAFA Cup was launched in 1997 and very quickly become one of the most exciting competitions on the African soccer calendar, described by FIFA President Sepp Blatter as the best regional tournament in the world.

The emergence of the COSAFA Cup has also had much to do with the rise to prominence and the growth in strength of the southern region in African soccer.

It has given the COSAFA member countries opportunities to increase their international profile and seek further success on other stages, like that of the African Nations Cup finals and the World Cup finals.

Zambia and Zimbabwe have each won four titles, with South Africa and Angola the only other winners with three each.

COSAFA is made up of Angola, Botswana, the Comoros Islands, Lesotho Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.