All set for U-20 Cosafa draw

Malawi Under-20 national football team will today be among 12 teams that go into the pot for the 2017 Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Youth Championship draw.

The junior Flames join defending champions and hosts Zambia, six-time winners Zimbabwe, last year’s finalists South Africa, Angola, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and two guests—Egypt and Uganda.

Malawi’s Azriel Johnson (L) challenged by Blessing Sibande of Zimbabwe
during the 2016 Cosafa Under-20

The draw will take place in South Africa at Cosafa offices, according to the regional football governing body’s deputy chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda.

Cosafa will use the seeding system based on team’s past performance in the competition.

Nyirenda said: “The draw will be held from 11am. There will be three groups of four teams each. Zambia as hosts will be seeded in Group A, South Africa, as runners-up, will be seeded in Group B.

“Angola, who won bronze last year, will be seeded in Group C since silver medalists DR Congo [Democratic Republic of Congo], who participated as guests last year, will not be available.”

Initially, the tournament was supposed to be held between December 1 and 10.

However, Cosafa changed the dates to December 6 to 16 following Zambia’s offer to take over as hosts after Mozambique pulled out due to financial problems.

The matches will be played at two venues in Kitwe, the Arthur Davies Stadium and Nkana Stadium, with the potential for the final to be staged at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola, according to Cosafa CEO Sue Destombes.

Malawi have never won the tournament but reached the final in 2003 and lost to Zambia.

Coach Gerald Phiri Snr will be in charge of the team for the second consecutive year. n

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