COSAFA is Back! Stand up and applaud
Harare ‑ The Confederation of Southern Africa Football Association (COSAFA) is back on the soccer radar and countries in the region have another chance to gauge their national teams in the region’s biggest soccer tournament.
The return of the tournament after a four-year hiatus is good for the development of football in the SADC region.
SADC national soccer teams should embrace this opportunity to prepare for the rigours of continental and world tournaments.
COSAFA President, Suketu Patel, said in a press release recently: “The return of our showpiece regional competition is long overdue and we are excited at the prospect of once again seeing the best players from the Southern African region compete for the title.”
Sue Destombes, the COSAFA Chief Operations Officer, said: “The timing of the competition is not a mistake, but intended to ensure that teams get maximum preparation for CHAN (African Nations Championship) qualifiers that most will take part in.”
Destombes said teams in the region should use the tournament as a chance to showcase themselves on the global stage and show what SADC teams are made of.
“We are delighted to be back and back for better. The development of the game in the region is our priority and we hope our sponsorship will go a long way in developing the game,” Castle Brand Development Manager (Africa) Jongamazizi Sibaca says.
Castle is the sponsor of the tournament.
Botswana national team coach Stanley Tshosane says he is targeting the COSAFA Cup to build a team for the future.
He says: “Three quarters of my team are youngsters who I believe have not had real international exposure, so I believe this (COSAFA) will benefit them.
“It will also give them a morale boost because our intention is to do our best and finish up in the final if possible.”
Herve Renard, Zambia’s head coach, also welcomed the competition saying his side was determined to go all the way.
“The COSAFA Cup is always very important, especially for the exposure of the local players.
“When you are a coach, everybody is expecting you to win especially when you are hosting the tournament. That means there is only one way – to be the winner of the tournament,” Renard said.
Teams that participate in the COSAFA must use the developmental tournament to build their national teams, identify problem areas in their teams and look for alternative solutions.
It can also be used as talent identification tool and players should use to showcase their natural talents.
Corporations in the SADC region should support the development of soccer.
They should chip in and sponsor more regional tournaments. They should also complement the efforts of Castle in promoting the development of soccer in the Southern Africa community.
The COSAFA Cup returns for the first time since 2009 when then hosts Zimbabwe defeated Zambia 3-1 in the final.
The tournament was first played in 1997, as a regional championship, with Zimbabwe heading the honour’s list with four titles, while Zambia, South Africa and Angola have three each.
Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa and Angola are the only countries to have won the event.