COSAFA teams have done the region proud at AFCON

The COSAFA region has left its mark on the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast with history made and the journey far from over for some of the Southern African sides.

Angola, Namibia and South Africa have all advanced to the round of 16, and while Zambia and Mozambique exited in the pool phase, they did so with their heads held high.

The last-16 clash between Angola and Namibia on Saturday ensures there will be at least one COSAFA team in the quarter-finals, with South Africa hoping to advance past 2022 World Cup semi-finalists Morocco too when they meet on Tuesday.

“COSAFA is delighted with the results our five representatives at the Africa Cup of Nations have achieved and congratulate all of them on a strong showing for the region in the Ivory Coast,” COSAFA Executive Director Sue Destombes said.

“Namibia made history by reaching the last-16 for the first time and this is testament to the work of coach Collin Benjamin. We have watched with interest their progress through several COSAFA Cup competitions.

“Angola are through to the knockout rounds for the first time since 2010 after topping their pool, while South Africa came through a difficult group and showed a typical fighting spirit and no shortage of quality in doing so.

“We also acknowledge the performance of Zambia and Mozambique, who did not make it past the pool phase, but still did the region proud.

“Mozambique took two points in an incredibly tough group that also contained Egypt, Ghana and an in-form Cape Verde. Zambia also managed two points, only coming unstuck against 2022 World Cup semifinalists Morocco. “

Timothy Shongwe, Chairman of COSAFA’s Competitions Committee, says the performances of the COSAFA teams is testament to the success of the organisation in developing football across all age groups in the Southern African region, which is now bearing fruit at senior international level.

“We are pleased that the hard work COSAFA has put into developing football in the region from the Under-17 age-group up is paying dividends,” Shongwe said. “Many of the players who are now starring for their senior national teams started in our junior competitions, which was their first exposure to international football.

“We believe this is just the beginning and have ambitious plans for the future to continue to grow the game in the region, which will have the effect of boosting our national teams in continental and global competition.”