The 2019 COSAFA Women’s Championship gets under way on Wednesday where hosts South Africa will seek a hat-trick of titles at the regional showpiece tournament in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Banyana Banyana have won the last two installments of the competition, and have claimed victory in five of the six previous finals played, their only blemish coming in 2011 when Zimbabwe pushed them into the silver position.
Like others in this year’s competition, they will be without key players though as overseas-based clubs are in full swing with their league seasons, so it is a chance for fans to see the next generation of stars.
But there is also the important matter of Olympic Games qualifiers later this month, and the COSAFA Women’s Championship provides vital preparations for those. So there are many strings to the bow of the regional finals, which will be played mostly at the Wolfson Stadium up until the final on August 11.
Last year the crowds flocked to the event and with organisers having announced that tickets will be FREE once again, the expectation is that there will be a large turnout again.
South Africa open their Group A campaign against debutants Comoros Islands, a side they defeated 13-0 in 2014, but who will want to show their improvement since. The match kicks-off at 15h30.
There will be two games before that though as Zimbabwe and Angola open the tournament with what promises to be a feisty Group C tie at 10h00, before Malawi and Madagascar do battle in Group A at 12h45.
“We have had to make changes to the squad due to the unavailability of the overseas players,” South Africa coach Des Ellis said. “While we would have loved to have everyone available, this also gives a chance to other players to stake their claim in the squad, hence the three new caps in Priscilla [Pesa], Shange [Sthembile] and Noxolo [Cesane].
“Also bear in mind that we are in the new Olympics 2020 and 2023 World Cup cycle, and the COSAFA Cup serves as preparations for the 2020 Olympic qualifier against Botswana at the end of August – so this works in our favour to try out other players and see just how much talent we have going forward.”
Zimbabwe coach Sithetheliwe Sibanda said her side is ready to go, even without seasoned striker Rutendo Makore, who was not available for family reasons.
“We want to do better than we did last year. A lot of development is going on in women’s football and you can see that we are no longer experiencing high scores like before meaning there are no longer any small teams,” Sibanda told reporters.
“So, we have to apply our tactics well, starting with the match against Angola on Wednesday.
“The training sessions that we had, the players showed great response. They looked sharp. I am sure we will compete well.”
All the matches throughout the COSAFA Women’s Championship will be streamed LIVE via COSAFATV. Links to these matches will be distributed on our social media platforms prior to kick-off.
To view the full tournament fixtures, please click here.
COSAFA SOCIAL MEDIA
- Website: cosafa.com
- Twitter: @COSAFAMEDIA
- Facebook page: facebook.com/COSAFAMEDIA/
- Instagram: instagram.com/cosafafootball/
- COSAFA TV: cosafa.tv
WHERE TO COLLECT FREE MATCH TICKETS
Spar – Daku
Spar – New Brighton
Spar – Zonke (Motherwell)
U Save– Opposite Wolfson Stadium