The draw has been made for the HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Cup 2023 that will be staged in Durban from July 5-16, where defending champions Zambia will take on Malawi, Seychelles and Comoros in their pool following in a new format for the competition.
The draw was conducted after COSAFA’s Annual General Meeting that was held in Johannesburg on Friday, and this year the 12 competing teams will be split into three groups each containing four teams.
The top team in each pool will advance to the semifinals along with the best-placed runner-up, meaning there is little margin for error.
Zambia beat Namibia in last year’s final, but they will have a tough road to the semifinals with Malawi also in their Group B, along with the island nations of Seychelles and Comoros.
Hosts South Africa have been drawn in a Group of Death along with last year’s runners-up Namibia, Eswatini and Botswana, who were finalists in 2016 and 2019.
Group C contains Mozambique, Angola, Mauritius and Lesotho, and will also be a hard-fought pool.
HOLLYWOODBETS returns as the title sponsor of the COSAFA Cup, as well as the upcoming 2023 COSAFA Women’s Championship and 2023 COSAFA Women’s Champions League.
“We are delighted to be a part of the HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Cup once again. Our partnership has grown since we first formed the relationship in 2019 and we hope to continue nurturing it,” says Indira Albuquerque, HOLLYWOODBETS Senior Football Sponsorship Coordinator.
“Our alignment with COSAFA means that we are also aligning with other African countries and specifically those we operate in.
“We enjoy investing in the continent through sports, and to highlight our continuous support in the women’s football space. The 2022 COSAFA Cup was a successful tournament, so we know that 2023 will be even better.”
COSAFA also announced a second partnership with JOMA SA, who have come on board as a technical supplier, a first for COSAFA.
They will be known official technical supplier to COSAFA for all its competitions. COSAFA will also be the exclusive distributer of JOMA SA football products in the South African region, excluding Mauritius.
The pool games in Durban will be played from July 5-12, with the semifinals on July 14 and the final and third-place play-off to be staged at the King Zwelithini Stadium two days later.
It is a departure from the previous format in which there were two groups of four teams and another six sides entered at the quarterfinal stage. There will also be no Plate competition this year.
The new format ensures each country will play a minimum of three games up to a maximum of five over the course of the competition. It also allows for an extra days’ rest between most pool games, a boost for player welfare.
The 21 previous editions of the COSAFA Cup have seen some great performances and incredible games that have been written into the folklore of Southern African football, but only five nations can claim to have lifted the coveted trophy.
Zimbabwe and Zambia are locked together on six wins each, with South Africa (five), Angola (three) and Namibia (one) the only other teams to claim regional glory.
Mozambique, Malawi, and Botswana have all been finalists twice, but ended up on the losing side on both occasions. Lesotho (2000) are the only other COSAFA team to reach the decider, with Senegal the first guest nation to do so in 2021.
HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Cup 2023 Draw: