The COSAFA Men’s Under-20 Championship has been played every year since 2016 after a period when it was on and off the football calendar.
It continues to churn out a steady stream of new stars for the senior national teams, as evidenced by the leading scorers from the past four editions.
We take a look at where they are now ahead of the 2021 edition that will be staged in Eswatini from December 10-18.
Luther Singh (South Africa) – 5 goals
Singh could not fire South Africa to the title in 2016 but has made good progress in his career and is now an established part of the Bafana Bafana squad.
At the time he was at Swedish second-tier side GAIS, but has since moved to Sporting Braga in the Portuguese league.
He only played for the ‘B’ side there, but has had successful loan spells at top-flight sides Chaves, Moreirense and this season Paços de Ferreira.
Now 24, he has recently made the move to top Danish side FC Copenhagen and has been involved in European club competition for them.
Muhammad Shaban (Uganda) – 4 goals
Shaban is also now a full Uganda international and also had a spell at top Moroccan side Raja Casablanca in the 2018-19 season.
To be fair, he had already been named 2016 FUFA Footballer of the Year before his arrival at the COSAFA tournament for the guest nation, so it was perhaps no surprise that he exceled.
The 23-year-old was with Vipers in Uganda, but recently moved to former side Onduparaka.
Lyle Foster (South Africa), Delic Murimba (Zimbabwe) – 5 goals
Foster is another star on the rise and currently plies his trade with Vitoria Guimaraes in the Portuguese league, who he joined from French Ligue 1 Monaco ahead of the campaign. He is, however, on loan at Belgian second-tier side Westerlo for the 2021-22 season.
The 21-year-old is also spent last season on loan at Belgium club Cercle Brugge, and featured for Monaco’s first team. He is also a part of the new generation coming through at Bafana Bafana.
Murimba is perhaps surprisingly still in Zimbabwe having turned out for Triangle United and Bulawayo Chiefs, though he did have trials with top South African side Mamelodi Sundowns last year. He has also attracted interest from China.
6 goals – Ambrosini Salvador (Angola)
Viewed as the next wonderkid from the region, striker Salvador, or ‘Zini’ as he is known, was the subject of a bid from Brazilian side Gremio that was quickly batted away by current club Primeiro de Agosto.
Primeiro placed a US$5-million release clause in the contract of the 19-year-old, who is surely destined for big things and is already a fully-fledged Angola international, who scored recently against Libya in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
3 goals – Sinenjongo Mkiva (South Africa), Ambrosini Salvador (Angola)
Salvador returned to finish leading scorer again alongside South Africa’s Mkiva, who is a youngster with DStv Premiership side SuperSport United.
Mkiva has been playing in the club’s reserve team but is held in very high regard and definitely tipped as a top player for the future.