Mozambique have been sporadic participants in the COSAFA Under-17 Championships down the years but make their return in the TotalEnergies U-17 Africa Cup of Nations | COSAFA Qualifier that forms part of the Region 5 Games Lilongwe 2022.
They were runners-up three years ago but have not been to the last two installments of the regional competition and will be eager to make their mark this time round having long been a country that produced top talent.
Mozambique were runners-up in the very first competition played 1994 when they topped their pool with wins over Botswana and Lesotho, both by 1-0 scorelines, and played to a 2-2 draw with Zimbabwe.
The team beat Zambia 2-1 in the semifinals, but then lost by the same scoreline to South Africa in the decider. They were disqualified from the 2001 tournament after fielding ineligible players, and quite incredibly did not return until 2017.
There they beat Madagascar (2-0) and Zambia (1-0), but a defeat to South Africa (1-3) meant they did not advance past the group stages despite their fantastic haul of six points.
Mozambique had a mixed bag in 2018 when they beat Lesotho (2-1), drew with Zambia (0-0) and lost to South Africa (1-4), which was not enough to see them into the next stage.
But they did advance in 2019 and went very close to lifting the trophy. They beat old foes Angola 1-0, drew 0-0 with Comoros and then defeated Lesotho 4-1 to top their pool and book a semifinal slot.
They met Eswatini in the Last 4 and a 1-0 victory there set up a final against Zambia, where they finally came unstuck, losing 2-0.
Mozambique have twice before qualified for the African Under-17 Championships but exited in the group stages on both occasions in 1995 and 2001.
They will hope to make it a third appearance in Algeria in 2023, but to do so will need to finish in the final in Lilongwe.
Last five tournament finishes:
2017 – Group Stages
2018 – Group Stages
2019 – Runners-Up
2020 – Did not enter
2021 – Did not enter