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Black Stars to compete in COSAFA

The Brave Warriors will potentially face a star-studded Ghanian side in this year’s edition of the Council of Southern African Football Associations Cup (COSAFA).
The championship will run from September 13 to 27 in Botswana with teams to battle it out to become the Southern African soccer giants.
The Black Stars, who will be competing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil later this month, notified the association of their acceptance of the invitation to compete last week.
Ghana will replace the Commores Islands, who have opted not to compete in this year’s  championship. Ghana could become the first country not part of Southern Africa that could win the tournament in the 17 year history of the coveted show piece.

Expressing much jubilation, Timothy Shongwe, Chairman of Council of Southern African Football Associations Organising Committee said, “We are delighted to have Ghana competing in Botswana and it is another sign of the high regard the rest of Africa places in the COSAFA Cup competition. Ghana are a powerhouse of the continent and have been the most successful African side at the last two World Cup tournaments, narrowly missing out on a place in the semi-finals in South African in 2010.”
The format of the 2014 competition will be the same as in Zambia last year, where two first round groups will be contested with the winners advancing to the quarter-finals.
Ghana will likely receive a bye into the quarter-finals along with the five other best positioned teams according to the FIFA World Rankings, who will be joined by the two pool winners to complete the Last 8.
“Players from Ghana are coveted by top European clubs and there is a good chance that we will see future superstars of the national team in Botswana later this year. It will be a huge test for our Southern African sides to take on the Black Stars, but that is just the type of competition we are looking for to help develop the game in the region,” added Shongwe.
There will also be a Plate Competition for the losing sides in the quarter-finals to give all teams the opportunity to play multiple matches.
The Council of Southern African Football Associations Cup returns this year after the successful hosting of the 2013 edition in Zambia last July, with the host nation defeating Zimbabwe in the final to record their fourth Tournament win, drawing them level with the Zimbabweans at the top of the list for all-time tournament victories.
South Africa and Angola are the only other two nations to have lifted the title and have three wins each.

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