The 21st edition of the COSAFA Cup will be staged in Durban from July 5-17 as the top sides in the region battle it out for the coveted trophy in what is a busy time for national teams with Africa Cup of Nations and African Nations Championship qualifiers. We add up the numbers on what is sure to be another thrilling tournament!
1 – Namibia’s triumph at the 2015 COSAFA Cup was their first in the competition and made them just the fifth country to lift the title in all. They also had a ‘first’ in 2016 when they hosted the tournament for the first time.
2 – The South African coastal city of Durban will play host to the COSAFA Cup for the second time, having first staged the event in 2019. Durban is also home to the COSAFA Women’s Champions League and COSAFA Beach Soccer Championship this year.
2 – Mozambique (1997 & 2009) and Eswatini (2016 & 2021) are the only sides to have won the bronze medal on more than one occasion. Mozambique also have two silvers to their name in 2008 and 2016, but never gold!
3 – South Africa have lifted the Plate trophy the most times having done so three years in a row between 2017 and 2019. They finally got their hands on the real thing again when they lifted the main trophy in 2021.
3 – Lesotho reached the COSAFA Cup semifinals for three tournaments in a row between 2017 and 2019 but come up short on each occasion. They finished third in 2018, and fourth in 2017 and 2019. They did reach the final in 2000 but lost both legs 3-0 to Zimbabwe.
4 – The most goals scored in a single COSAFA Cup match is four by Seychelles striker Phillip Zialor in their 7-0 win over Mauritius in 2008.
4 – Zimbabwe’s Sunday Chidzambwa is the most successful coach in COSAFA Cup history with four titles, won in 2005, 2009, 2017 and 2018. He has never been beaten outright in a COSAFA Cup match, having coached in 19 games.
5 – Eswatini have been to the semifinals of the COSAFA Cup on five occasions (1999, 2002, 2003, 2016 & 2021), but have yet to reach the final. They are one of five COSAFA sides never to have reached the final along with the island nations of Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros. They came close again last year when they were edged by Senegal in their semifinal clash.
5 – The disproportionately high number of own goals scored in Malawi’s favour in their COSAFA Cup history, three times by Angola (Moises, Fernando & Ito), once by Zimbabwe (Nyamupanedengu) and once by Namibia (Tjihero).
6 – The number of titles won by Zimbabwe after their back-to-back triumphs in 2017 and 2018, when they defeated Zambia in the final on both occasions (3-1 and 4-2). Zambia now have five tournament wins after their victory in 2019, while South Africa also have five having lifted the trophy in 2021. Angola are on three wins and Namibia one.
6 – Aside from their five tournament wins, Zambia have also finished runners-up on six occasions, more than any other nation. Four of those runners-up medals came between 2004 and 2009, before they also picked up a silver medal in 2017 and 2018.
6 – The number of goals scored by Zimbabwe forward Ovidy Karuru at the 2017 COSAFA Cup, which saw him finish as top-scorer at the tournament and also claim the record for the most goals in a single competition.
6 – The number of guest nations that have appeared at the COSAFA Cup in the past. Tanzania lead the way with three appearances (1997, 2015 & 2018), while Kenya (2013), Ghana (2015), DR Congo (2016), Uganda (2019) and Senegal (2021) have also appeared. The Senegalese have the best finish after they were runners-up last year.
7 – The Seychelles stunned Mauritius 7-0 in the 2008 COSAFA Cup, which remains to this day the biggest ever margin of victory in the competition. It also remains the only ever victory for the island nation in the competition, having played 28 games so far!
9 – The number of goals scored in the COSAFA Cup by Eswatini forward Felix Badenhorst. It is the most in the competition’s history and one more than Zimbabwe legend Peter Ndlovu.
9 – The number of nations that appeared in the first ever COSAFA Cup. There will hopefully be 14 teams competing at this year’s tournament in Durban, with at least one invited guest nation.
11 – There have been 11 hat-tricks in the history of the COSAFA Cup, with no player able to score more than one. The last three of those hattricks have all come against Lesotho, including two in 2021.
12 – The number of matches it took before Zambia finally lost a COSAFA Cup match. The team won the first two competitions and were eventually beaten 1-0 by Angola in 1999.
15 – The age of Angolan goalkeeper Eduardo Bunga when he played in the 2016 COSAFA Cup!
16 – Zambia have reached the semifinals of the COSAFA Cup on the most occasions – 16 – and have made it through to the deciding match in 11 of those. Zimbabwe are the next moist frequent semifinalists with 12 appearances.
17 – Zimbabwe’s 2-0 loss to Namibia in 2021 ended a 17-game unbeaten run in the competition, the longest in COSAFA Cup history. The irony? Their previous defeat was also against Namibia in a surprise 4-1 loss 2015!
38 – The number of wins managed by Zimbabwe in their COSAFA Cup history, more than any other country.
64 – The number of matches played by Zimbabwe in the history of the COSAFA Cup, the most by any side.
110 – The number of goals scored by Zimbabwe in the history of the COSAFA Cup, the most by any side.
1997 – The first year the tournament was staged, with Zambia ending as inaugural winners. We will celebrate 25 years in 2022!
2008 – The year South Africa completed a notable feat – winning back-to-back COSAFA Cup titles. Only inaugural winners Zambia (1997 & 1998) and Zimbabwe (2017 & 2018) have managed to do the same, though it seems it happens a decade apart with South Africa in 2007 & 2008! Will 2027 and 2028 be the next time?