How the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championship will work!

The 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championships, sponsored by PPC, a world-class provider of materials and solutions into the basic services sector, will be staged in South Africa’s North West province from December 7-16 when a new champion for the region will be crowned.

It will be the first time the Under-20 tournament has been run since 2013, when South Africa claimed the title with a 2-0 victory over Kenya in the final.

This year’s tournament will feature 14 sides, with East African guest nation Rwanda to take the place of COSAFA side Madagascar, who have declined to participate.

The pool phase of the competition will feature four groups – two of which will have four teams, and two with three sides. The draw for these pools will be made on Wednesday, October 26.

But there are already some ‘knowns’. The teams have been seeded based on their performances at the 2013 COSAFA Under-20 Championships played in Lesotho.

South Africa have already been handed position A1 in Group A as hosts, while Angola will be in position C1 in Group C.

The other top seeds, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, will be drawn into either B1 or D1, the two pools that have three teams each.

Pot 1 at Wednesday’s draw will contain the next highest-ranked five sides – Namibia, Lesotho, Comoros, Botswana and Zambia – while Pot 2 has Rwanda, Malawi, Swaziland, Mauritius and Seychelles.

The first four teams drawn from Pot 1 will take up the second positions in Groups A-D, while the first four teams from Pot 2 will take up the third positions in the pools.

That will leave two teams remaining in the pots and these will be randomly drawn into Groups A and C, the two pools that have four teams.

The teams will play each other in a round-robin format with the top side from each pool advancing to the semi-finals.

The top two teams in Groups B and D after the second round of matches will play a third match as a crossover game between those two pools, to ensure that most competing sides gets to play three times.

The top team in Group B will play the second team in Group D and vice-versa.

The group matches start on December 7 and will be completed on December 13. The semi-finals will take place a day later, before the remaining teams enjoy a rest day.

The third-place play-off and final of the competition will both be played on December 16, which is a public holiday in South Africa.

The matches will be played at two venues, the Mogwase Stadium and Moruleng Stadium, with the latter being used exclusively from the semi-finals onwards.