COSAFA stands firm
By Adolf Kaure
Windhoek – The Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) will take an aggressive stance to promote the interest of the organisation and its members, including challenging decision made by the previous regime in charge of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), president Phillip Chiyangwa said last week.
He told media in Johannesburg on April 7, that COSAFA will look at how its members would best benefit from FIFA’s recent decision to allocate nine slots to Africa at World Cups from 2026.
The 14 heads of COSAFA member associations attended a meeting in South Africa that was graced by newly elected CAF president Ahmad Ahmad. Members countries are Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Comoros Islands, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Chiyangwa also sounded a strong warning over the contentious decision made several years ago to award the hosting of three successive African Cup of Nations finals to West African countries.
“These were politically, aggressively awarded wherein one region benefits from all competitions,” he said in reference to the 2019 finals in Cameroon, 2021 in the Ivory Coast and 2023 in Guinea.
“This is our continent and our Africa and we have the right to ask questions and where we feel that we have been abused, we just have to do what we did. In these circumstances we are questioning the status quo; the locating of all interests in one region.”
“COSAFA will launch a protest on some competitions that were previously awarded, so much so that there must be a commission of inquiry appointed,” Chiyangwa said.
The regional body was instrumental in ousting of long-time CAF president Issa Hayatou earlier in March. His predecessor from Madagascar made his first regional visit to Southern Africa last week following his historic election.
“I will always be part of Cosafa, I come from Cosafa and I remain loyal to COSAFA,” Ahmad told a press conference in Johannesburg.
Cosafa have also confirmed the dates for their regional competitions this year. The COSAFA Castle Cup will be played in South Africa’s North West province from June 25 to July 9, while the regional Under-20 competition will be staged from December 1-10.
Mauritius will host the COSAFA Under-17 Championship from July 21-30, while the COSAFA Women’s Championship is set to be staged in Zimbabwe from September 13-24.
Cosafa is the biggest regional block in African football – it has 14 member countries – and would seek to play a leading role in CAF matters and protects its own interests.