Cosafa Cup clashes with Nations Cup
Harare – It is highly unlikely that the Cosafa Cup clashes with Nations Cup set for Botswana in September this year, will be played as scheduled after it has emerged that the dates clash with the 2015 Nations Cup qualifiers, which could feature as many as six countries from the region.
The Cosafa leadership has set the dates for the tournament from September 13 to 28 but this fixture programme means that the opening match will be played just three days after a number of countries have played the second 2015 Nations Cup group matches.
South Africa, Zambia and Angola are guaranteed their places in the group qualifiers but Lesotho, Botswana, Mozambique and Malawi could join them after the four Southern African countries did well, in the first legs of the final preliminary qualifiers, to be in a position to qualify.
Lesotho beat Kenya 1-0 in Maseru, crucially avoiding an away goal; Botswana will carry a 2-0 lead to Guinea Bissau, after Lemponey Tshireletso’s double gave them a good foundation; and Mozambique forced a 2-2 draw in Tanzania, while Malawi lost 0-1 in Benin but still have reason to believe they are in with a chance to qualify.
While South Africa, Zambia and Angola can afford to field different teams, from those that play in the Nations Cup, for their Cosafa Cup campaign, the likes of Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Botswana generally rely on the bulk of the players who are battling to book a place in Morocco next year.
The 2015 Nations Cup group stages get underway on the weekend of September 5/6, exactly a week before the opening game of the Cosafa Cup, with South Africa hosting Sudan, Zambia taking on either Mozambique/Tanzania or Angola visiting Gabon.
But it is the second games of the group games, five days later on Wednesday, September 10, that come just three days before the opening game of the Cosafa Cup, which should be a real cause for concern for the organisers of the regional tournament.
South Africa have a blockbuster home game against Nigeria on September 10, Zambia are away to Cape Verde and Mozambique/Tanzania will have a home tie against Niger.
Should Malawi and Lesotho also make it to the group stages, they will also have fixtures with the Flames having a home tie, their second in the group, against Ethiopia while the Crocodiles, should they succeed, will also be at home against Gabon.
Cosafa has appointed ITM Group of Johannesburg to assist and co-ordinate the event management while SABC are likely to be the host broadcaster for the games.
“The Cosafa Cup coming to Botswana provides a great opportunity for a tourism boost and the prosperity which goes with it,” Botswana FA chief executive, Keith Masters, said in a statement on the association’s website.
“Cosafa are of the opinion that the Piermont Group be approached with regard to the accommodating of the various teams at Grand Palm and Mondior with the match officials at Metcourt Inn.
“It is suggested we approach the Gaborone Sun for the Cosafa delegation and the Oasis Motel for the television crew.
“If we cannot get satisfaction from any of the aforementioned then we have the Lansmore and Cresta hotels to fall back on.
“Cosafa retain the rights to the broadcasting/television. They will give such free of charge to Btv as Host Broadcaster who will televise the games terrestrially. Btv, however, does not have the capacity to completely cover the games therefore additional quotations have been obtained and the favourable one of SABC.”
Fourteen countries ‑ Angola, Botswana, Comoros Islands, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia. Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe – are scheduled to take part in the 2014 Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup.
Higher ranked teams are likely to be given a bye, which will see them joining the tournament at a later stage, while eight teams will battle it out in two groups of four teams each.
“The format of the tournament is basically that the first section will be played in Groups – two groups of four,” the hosts said on their website.
“The eight teams who participate in the two groups and usually the eight lowest if the FIFA rankings. From the completion of the groups the two group winners’ progress to the knock-out stage where they are joined by the remaining six teams.”