The CAF African Schools Football Championship | COSAFA Qualifier, Zimbabwe 2023 will give youngsters in the Under-15 age-group another chance to showcase their skills on the international stage and perhaps put them on the path to a professional career in the game.
The qualifier will take place in Harare from December 14-16 with the winners to advance to the continental finals next year, where they will hope to become the best in Africa.
The inaugural COSAFA qualifier in Lilongwe, Malawi last year was a superb showcase of schools football, where several individuals stood out.
Player of the Tournament
Kgaogelo Monanyane (Clapham High School, South Africa)
Attacking midfielder Monanyane was superb as he took Clapham to the title, scoring three goals and creating numerous others for his teammates. He was very much the creative spark behind the side and was later named in a preliminary squad for the newly formed South African Under-15 side. He plays for the Mamelodi Sundowns club.
Ishumael Bwanali (Salima Secondary School, Malawi)
Bwanali was deadly in front of goal and ended up with the top-scorer prize in the boys’ competition. He netted five goals, including four in the semifinals against IQRA School as he almost single-handedly put his school into the decider, where they lost to Clapham High. He would also score for his side in the continental finals in Durban in April.
Kamogelo Phokela (Clapham High School, South Africa)
Phokela was superb between the sticks for Clapham High and played a big part in them lifting the trophy. Scoring goals is important, but so is saving them. The team conceded only one goal in their five games and Phokela played his part in keeping the likes of Bwanali out in the final.
Player of the Tournament
Victoria Nkwala (Malindi Secondary School, Malawi)
Malindi Secondary would almost certainly have booked their place at the continental finals were it not for an administrative mishap that cost them points. But throughout their four games Nkwala was superb with not only her goals (she scored four), but also creating chances for others. She showed great vision and skill to earn her award.
Nobahle Mdelwa (Edendale Technical School, South Africa)
It was Edendale Technical who took the top prize as they lifted the regional crown, and behind that success was forward Mdelwa. She was a consistent thorn for opponents throughout and managed seven goals in her four games, providing a clinical touch in the box. That is half of her team’s total of 14 goals, showing her importance to the team.
Emily Maulidi (Malindi Secondary School, Malawi)
Maulidi from Malindi Secondary was named the best goalkeeper as she did not concede a single goal in their four games, only that administrative error costing them a place in the continental finals. It is a shame she could not be there to showcase her obvious quality.