COSAFA signs three-year partnership to boost tournaments

COSAFA is delighted to confirm a new three-year partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government and the City of eThekwini to host several of our tournaments in Durban, including the flagship COSAFA Cup.

The agreement runs from August 2021 to December 2023, and provides the COSAFA Cup, COSAFA Women’s Champions League and COSAFA Beach Soccer competition with certainty over the hosting of the trio of annual events in what are the most uncertain of times.

The three tournaments will be staged in the coastal city each year over that period, making use of the world-class football facilities on offer and the excellent all-round infrastructure in travel, transport, and communications.

“We have worked exceptionally hard to put together this partnership and are delighted with the outcome as it gives these three events a fixed home for the next few years, which in turn gives both COSAFA and potential sponsors confidence that the tournaments will be of the highest quality,” says Mr Timothy Shongwe, Chairman of COSAFA’s Competitions Committee.

“The KZN Provincial Government and the City of eThekwini have been excellent partners of COSAFA in the past, not least when we staged a hugely successful COSAFA Cup in Durban in 2019, and we are looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship for all parties.

“We are delighted to have Beach Soccer back on the calendar from 2022, and all these tournaments play a crucial role in the development of football in our Southern African region. We are thrilled that the KZN Provincial Government and the City of eThekwini share our vision.”

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government Head of Department for Sport & Recreation, Dr Thobile Sifunda, says the province is determined to get sport back up and running.

“We look forward to welcoming the COSAFA family to KwaZulu-Natal, starting with the Women’s Champions League qualifiers,” Dr Sifunda says.

“We trust that when the safety regulations are relaxed, we will enjoy the full benefits of hosting COSAFA activities in the coming years. As KZN we are ready to host and be the home to COSAFA for many years to come, with our state-of-the-art infrastructure, tourism and hospitality offerings, friendly people and pleasant weather conditions.”

eThekwini Municipality Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda said the announcement of the long-term partnership between the KZN Provincial Government, eThekwini Municipality and COSAFA could not have come at a better time as we are preparing to host the inaugural TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League l COSAFA Qualifier which starts next week.

“As eThekwini Municipality we will always strive for the total emancipation of women, both in the society and in the workplace,” Mayor Kaunda says. “We are fully aware that when we invest in women’s football, we are expanding the pool of players who will represent the country one day.

The same players will have a chance to compete in the biggest leagues in the world, thus being able to sustain themselves and their families.

“Through a collaborative effort by all stakeholders, we must create a conducive environment for young girls to realise their dreams of becoming the Desiree Ellis, Amanda Dlamini or Thembi Kgatlana of tomorrow. Our interventions must be deliberate and targeted so that we contribute towards unearthing more talent from the continent.”

Durban has already been named host for the 2021 TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Champions League l COSAFA Qualifier that will be staged from August 26 to September 4.

The competition will see seven teams from across the region compete for not only the trophy, but also a ticket to the continental finals in Cairo later this year.

The COVID-19 pandemic restricted the number of entries in this inaugural year, but there is the hope that all 14 COSAFA Member Associations will take part in future editions.

COSAFA has numerous other tournaments on its calendar, including the Women’s Senior Championship, and events in the Under-17 and Under-20 age groups for both men and women. COSAFA will also be hosting a Futsal tournament in Mozambique this year.