The 2019 COSAFA Women’s Championship will get under way in Nelson Mandela Bay in a little over two weeks’ time, where the 12 competing teams will battle it out for the coveted trophy.
Matches will mostly be played at theWolfson Stadium, though the smaller Gelvandale Stadium will be used as an alternate venue.
Fans will be able to watch the games for FREE,with details on where to collect tickets to be released shortly.
The tournament will get under way on July 31 when Zimbabwe tackle Angola at the Wolfson Stadium at 10h00, with three matches per day in the first round. That is until August 5, when Group A and C will conclude, and matches played simultaneously.
The semifinals will take place on August 8, with the third-place play-off set for two days later and the final to be contested on August 11.
South Africa will be the defending champions and coach Des Ellis says she expects all their first round opponents – Comoros Islands, Malawi and Madagascar – to try and make a statement by getting a win against the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup participants.
“The expectation is always there, being Banyana and the defending champions. People will want to knock you off your perch, especially having been to the World Cup. But we have to show what we learnt at the World Cup and why we qualified to be there,” she said.
“We want to give the fans a taste of what we learnt at the World Cup, otherwise that experience counts for nothing. “It won’t be easy, when you play the minnows they raise their game. No-one needs motivation to play a team that has come from the World Cup.”
Ellis also expects the crowds to turn out again to support the side, just as they did in last year’s tournament, when Banyana defeated Cameroon in the final.
“The fans were amazing last year, they gave us such great support and it makes a real difference to the players. It gives us such a lift. We hope to see them back again this year.”
Running concurrently with the senior women’s championship will be the inaugural 2019 COSAFA Women’s Under-20 Championship from August 1-11, also to be staged in Nelson Mandela Bay.