U/20 COSAFA championships under way
The Metropolitan COSAFA U/20 youth soccer competition kicked off on Thursday this week, when Botswana and Mozambique played the first game at the University of Botswana campus.
The Namibian team is set to play its first match on Friday, 2 December against Zimbabwe at the Molepolele Stadium at 17:30.
A total of 14 teams will take part in the regional championships and will see the winning teams to the finals on 10 December.
The teams have been split into four groups, two of which have four sides and two that have three.
In Group A, which was supposed to be a four team pool initially, are Botswana, Swaziland and Mozambique after the late withdrawal of Comoros. This means that there will only be two games for each side to stake a place in the semi-finals.
Teams receive three points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss, with the team with the most points finishing at the top of the pool.
The top teams in each pool will then advance to the semi-finals, where the winner of Group A will meet the winner of Group C, and the top side in Group B plays the top team in Group D.
The winners of those matches advance to the final, with the losers playing-off for bronze in the third-place.
Group B is made up of Seychelles, Malawi, Lesotho and Malawi, who is returning to the competition after a number of years on the sidelines.
Lesotho has a good track record, having qualified for the African Youth Championships twice in the last six years, and the national side advancing to the group stages of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with an excellent preliminary round win over Burundi. Seychelles will have their work cut-out to finish at the top of this pool.
Group C, which is classified as the ‘Group of Death’, is made up of Zambia, South Africa, Tanzania and Mauritius, while Group D consists of Angola, Madagascar, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Expectations are high that the Namibian U/20 team will do a formidable job at the championships.
The 2011 COSAFA U/20 Cup is being held for the 20th consecutive year and involves the youth teams from Southern Africa. Botswana will host the competition for the second time.