2019 COSAFA moves to SA
Written by Millennium on April 19, 2019
MUKWIMA CHILALA writes
THE 2019 COSAFA Cup tournament will be staged in the South African coastal city of Durban from May 25-June 8 after initial host Zimbabwe pulled out citing lack of resources, says president
Chiyangwa said on Wednesday that the tournament would serve as vital preparation for the region’s Africa Cup of Nations-bound teams.
He said that the prestigious regional tournament will be hosted in partnership with the South African Football Association (SAFA) and the eThekwini Municipality, with venues around the city to enrich the 14-team competition.
Angola, Madagascar, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe are all teams that will be heading to the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt from June 21-July 19, and so will be able to use the COSAFA Cup to camp and play in high-quality competitive internationals just weeks before the continental showpiece.
Mr Chiyangwa said the regional soccer body was delighted to host what it believed would be the best ever COSAFA Cup in Durban, a city steeped in sporting history with the most magnificent facilities.
He said there was also much more for competing teams to play for this year, with not only the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt, but also the 2020 African Nations Championship qualifiers in July and August.
“At COSAFA we pride ourselves in the opportunities we give our nations to compete at the highest level, and to help develop our teams for continental action,’’ he said.
“We extend our warmest thanks to SAFA and the eThekwini Municipality for partnering with us on this event and we are sure that all the teams will derive great benefit from their stay in South Africa.”
The semi-final and final of the tournament will be played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, with King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi and the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu to be used earlier in the competition.
The winners of those pools will advance to the quarterfinals, where they will join the six higher ranked teams in a straight knockout format.
The four losing teams in the quarterfinals will drop into the Plate competition to ensure they continue to get competitive fixtures.
Zimbabwe will be the defending champions in 2019 having won the last of their record six titles in Polokwane 12 months ago when they edged Zambia 4-2 in a thrilling final.
Zambia and South Africa have four wins each, with Angola (three wins) and Namibia also previously gold medallists.
The 2019 COSAFA Cup will be the first of six tournaments scheduled to be hosted by the regional body this year.