Baby Warriors coach Gerald Güther welcomes the 2018 Cosafa U20 draw, and reckons with better preparation they stand a better chance this time at 2018 MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships to be staged in Kitwe, Zambia from December 2-14.
Namibia are in Group B together with South Africa, Mauritius and Eswatini and coach Güther states that they have a good chance of getting through to the semi-finals.
“South Africa is our bogey team at this age group and we are surely looking forward to our battle once again. With enough time to prepare, we believe we can surprise them. Mauritius were around last year and looked decent and competitive and Eswatini, we played them before and we got the better of them two years ago but everyone improves every year, and for us the draw is better than last year,” Güther commented.
Last year, the Young warriors were paired against Zambia, Angola and Lesotho. The Young Warriors are expected to report for training camp next week.
Group C contains last year’s runners-up Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Angola and Botswana, who return to the regional championship after skipping last year.
In Group A Zambia have been drawn alongside Malawi, Mozambique and newcomers Réunion who will bring an extra dimension and something of the unknown as an associate member of COSAFA.
Zimbabwe are six-time winners of the COSAFA Under-20 Championships but have exited in the first round in each of the last two years and will be desperate to atone for those disappointments.
Only the top team in each pool and the best-placed runner-up advance to the semi-finals, where the competition switches to a knockout format.
“It is an exciting draw and one that will produce plenty of thrilling football during the competition, but also a chance for these boys to test their skill against their peers from around the region,” says COSAFA President Dr Phillip Chiyangwa.
“The MOPANI Copper Mines COSAFA Under-20 Championships is another step towards us fulfilling our mandate to provide development opportunity to players, coaches, matches officials and administrators and will be the fifth tournament that we as COSAFA will manage in 2018.
“We are proud to continue to play our part in developing Southern African football and are grateful to our sponsors MOPANI Copper Mines and our gracious hosts, the Football Association of Zambia, for their continued support.”
The tournament returns to the copper belt after a successful staging in Kitwe last year and will be live on Kwesé TV.
“At Kwesé we pride ourselves in broadcasting nothing but the best in sports. As a broadcast partner for COSAFA in Africa, we are proud to offer a pan-African platform to display our continent’s phenomenal sporting talent on Kwesé’s extensive broadcast network. With active Kwesé TV subscriptions, sports lovers can follow the season from kick off to the finals on TV or on the move on Kwesi’s mobile app,” expressed Country Manager for Kwesé TV Zambia, Progress Chisenga.
A version of the COSAFA Under-20 Championships was first played in 1983, with Zambia leading the way with 11 titles, while Zimbabwe and South Africa have six each and Madagascar one.
By Dan Kamati