Mozambique name preliminary squad for COSAFA Women’s Championship

Mozambique coach Sara Simone has named her preliminary selection for the 2019 COSAFA Women’s Championshipas she looks to plot a semi-final berth for the side in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The regional showpiece competition will be staged in the South African coastal city from July 31-August 11, where Mozambique will aim to build on previous performances.

Simone has chosen a side that has both youth and experience, including forward Cidalia Cuta, who netted twice in last year’s competition.    The youngest member of the squad is 19-year-old defender Virginia Fernando, while the oldest is veteran defender Amelia Elias, who will be 33.

Mozambique have been drawn in Group C and will start their campaign against Eswatini on August 1. That will be followed by a clash with Zimbabwe the following day, and a final pool game against Angola on August 5.

Only the top team in each pool and the best placed runner-up advance to the semi-finals.

Mozambique appeared at the very first COSAFA Women’s Championships in 2002 and excelled, reaching the semifinals before they were handed an 11-1 defeat by hosts Zimbabwe in the knockout round.

They have not managed to match that feat since but can look back with pride on victories over Eswatini (2-0) and Botswana (7-1) in those inaugural championships.

They also competed in the regional showpiece finals in 2011 but managed just a single point in the pool stages.

They had mixed success in 2017, losing to East African guest nation Kenya (2-5), drawing with Eswatini (2-2) and beating Mauritius (3-0).    The team beat Lesotho 2-1 at the championships in 2018, but also lost to Zambia (0-3) and Central African guest nation Cameroon (1-8) to bow out at the pool stages.

They have twice before entered the qualifiers for the African Women’s Championships, but failed to reach the 2006 and 2012 continental finals.

Their first ever international was a 3-0 win over Lesotho in 1998, with their biggest victory a 9-0 defeat of Namibia in 2006.

Mozambique preliminary squad:

Goalkeepers: Esperança António Matsinhe, Elsa Francisco Domingos Alferes 

Defenders: Graça Castro Joao, Rosa Antonio Mainque, Ancha Delfina Sumburane, Aurora Agostinho Ngale, Amelia Fabiao Banze, Virginia Fracinete Fernando, Amelia Elias, Eufasia Manuel Soto

Midfielders: Amalia Slavia Faustino Vilanculo, Raquel Antonio Lourenco, Ines Celestino Chingueleze, Albertina Carlos Pondja, Deolinda Fenhane Gove, Lonica Vasco Tsanwane, Cainara Mussa Jamal, Joana Henrique Iguane

Strikers: Betinha Vasco Alfredo, Fidelia Francisco Gove, Cina Filomena Manuel, Cidalia Daniel Cuta, Violeta Cuda David