The inaugural CAF African Schools Football Championship | COSAFA Qualifier was staged in Lilongwe, Malawi in 2022 and was a superb celebration of football in the Under-15 age-group category.
The brainchild of Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Dr Patrice Motsepe, the continent-wide initiative aims to give budding footballers a first taste of continent competition.
“Schools football is at the heart of the long-term development and growth of African football,” Dr Motsepe said. “One of the best investments that we can make to ensure that African football is amongst the best world, is to invest in schools football and football infrastructure for boys and girls at school, amateur and professional level.”
Six schools in the Boys’ category contested the COSAFA Qualifier last year and five in the Girls’ tournament.
The Boys were split into two groups of three teams, with home side Salima Secondary (Malawi) and Clapham High (South Africa) advancing to the semifinals from Group A.
Rosinha (Angola) and IQRA School (Comoros) made it through to the final four from Group B.
Ishumael Bwanali scored all four goals as Salima defeated IQRA School in their semifinal, while Kgaogelo Monanyane got a hattrick as Clapham dismissed Rosinha 6-0.
That set up a grand final and it took a goal from Sibusiso Tolomane to see Clapham take the title with a 1-0 win.
As it turned out, both sides advanced to the continental finals that were played in Durban, South Africa as the COSAFA region received one entry as hosts, and a second for their winning side in the qualifier.
Monanyane won the Boys’ Player of the Tournament prize, while Bwanali finished with the Golden Boot. Kamogelo Phokela from Clapham High claimed the Golden Glove for best goalkeeper and Rosinha claimed the Fair Play award.
The Girls’ competition was played in a single round-robin format among the five sides with the team that finished top of the pool the winner. The second-placed side also advanced.
South Africa’s Edendale Technical had already clinched the title before the kick-off of their final fixture against Mothamo JSS from Botswana but ended in style with a 4-0 win.
Nobahle Mdelwa was among the goals and finished as the leading scorers in the competition with seven goals.
The penultimate match in the girls’ competition saw Anse Boileau from Seychelles play to a goalless draw with GS Ningha of the Comoros.
The point took Anse Boileau into second place and saw them claim the silver medal, with Malawian outfit Malindi Secondary School taking bronze.
The Player of the Tournament prize in the girls’ competition went to Victoria Nkwala from Malindi, with Mdelwa winning the Golden Boot and Malindi’s Emily Maulidi the Golden Glove. Anse Boileau went home with the Fair Play award.
Matches Played: 11
Goals scored: 30
Biggest victory: Rosinha 0 Clapham High 6 (Semifinals, October 31)
Most goals in a game: 6 – Rosinha 0 Clapham High 6 (Semifinals, October 31)
Matches Played: 10
Goals scored: 26
Biggest victory: Edendale Technical 7 GS Ningha 1 (Group A, October 30)
Most goals in a game: 8 – Edendale Technical 7 GS Ningha 1 (Group A, October 30)