COSAFA UNDER-17: organisers make fixture changes
The organisers of the 2017 COSAFA Under-17 Championship have made some slight adjustments to the fixtures for the tournament that gets underway on Friday, with the final set for July 30.
There has been an addition of an extra rest day as the third-place play-off has been moved from July 29 to the same day as the final, with a 12:00 kick-off. The final stays at 15:00, with both matches to be played at the Stade St Francois Xavier, in Mauritius.
The Junior Flames are at the tournament
The order of matches 7 and 8 on July 24 have also been adjusted, while there are adjustments to some kick-off times.
The draw for the first round pool stage has created two intriguing pools, with Group A containing Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Malawi.
Mauritius and Malawi are the only two sides from the pool who contested for the trophy in 2016, but the hosts were knocked out in the first round after just a single win in their three matches.
Malawi made it to the semi-finals after topping their pool following the disqualification of Zambia for fielding ineligible players, but they were narrowly defeated on penalties by Namibia after a 1-1 draw.
Group B this year contains last year’s beaten finalists South Africa as well as Zambia, Mozambique and Madagascar.
Zambia will have a point to prove after their disqualification 12 months ago, and are riding a wave of success after the Under-20 team were crowned African champions and then excelled at the recent FIFA Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.
Mozambique did not compete in the COSAFA Under-17 Championship in 2016, while Madagascar lost all three of their games and will be hoping for a better showing.
The matches will be played at two venues – the Saint Francois Xavier in the Mauritius capital Port Louis, and the Mauritius Football Association Technical Centre.
A regional Under-17 championship has been played in various guises since the first in 1994 that was won by South Africa on home soil with a 2-1 victory over Mozambique in the final.
Malawi claimed the title in 2001 as they beat hosts South Africa 3-0, before a year later the latter regained the trophy after finishing top of a mini-group of teams.-Malawi News 24