The COSAFA Cup 2016 was officially launched in host city Windhoek, Namibia on Tuesday with the announcement of the return of Castle Lager as title sponsor for the regional showpiece event.
The championship, organised by the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) in conjunction with the Namibia Football Association (NFA), will be staged from May 15-29 and be hosted at two magnificent venues in Windhoek – the Sam Nujoma Stadium and Independence Stadium.
To be known as the COSAFA CASTLE CUP 2016, it will feature the best of Southern Africa’s emerging talent with Namibia seeking to retain the title they won in South Africa earlier this year.
CASTLE LAGER, who has played a massive part in the Southern African championship’s growth, were title sponsors for the inaugural event in 1997 and remained so for a decade.
And now CASTLE LAGER has signed an agreement as title sponsor to the COSAFA Cup for the next five years, securing the future of one of the world’s top regional competitions.
“We at Castle Lager are once again proud to announce our renewed sponsorship of the COSAFA CASTLE CUP for a further five-year period,” says Alastair Hewitt, General Manager of Castle Lager – Africa at SABMiller. “The duration of our sponsorships and the integral role that we play in developing our future sporting stars on the continent of Africa is unrivalled and shows our true commitment to the people of Africa and their passion for the “Beautiful Game”.
“The tournament provides Castle Lager with the opportunity to unite the nations of Southern Africa as the 14 countries of the region come together in Namibia in 2016 to compete in the tournament.
“We have recently built a new brewery in Okahanja in Namibia and this tournament provides us with an opportunity to profile the work that we do in football and also our commitment to the country of Namibia as a new commercial venture in the country.”
“We look forward to working with COSAFA as we unfold a new chapter in the story of the COSAFA CASTLE CUP.”
NFA Secretary General Barry Rukoro says the entire country is delighted to host the COSAFA CASTLE CUP for the first time in its history and has promised a spectacle for fans.
“The Namibia Football Association is proud to host the COSAFA family here in our uniquely beautiful country next May,” he said. “The visiting teams will be welcomed and hosted with the highest degree of hospitality, and we feel certain they will have a great time and enjoy their participation in the tournament.
“As defending champions we are looking forward to embarking on a new and fresh challenge – that of winning our second regional championship and maintaining the growth that we have realised in the last few years.
“We know that the Namibian football family, led by our patron, His Excellency, the President of Namibia, Dr Hage Geingob, will support the competition wholeheartedly.”
COSAFA President Suketu Patel says the tournament is hugely important for developing skills in the region, on and off the pitch.
“We are delighted that the future of the COSAFA CUP is secure and would like to extend our sincere thanks to Castle Lager for believing in the excellent development role that the competition plays in Southern Africa, recognising the value of the platform which the annual tournament provides to the Brand and displaying their confidence in COSAFA as an organisation.
“From providing players and coaches with international exposure, to developing match officials and administrators, the COSAFA CASTLE CUP plays a vital role in uplifting the game of football in Southern Africa.
“I would also like to thank the Namibia Football Association and the Government of the Republic of Namibia for their support for the 2016 COSAFA CASTLE CUP and we look forward to staging the tournament in one of the world’s most uniquely beautiful and friendly countries.”
Namibia became the fifth country to lift the COSAFA Cup trophy when they defeated Mozambique 2-0 in the final of the 2015 competition that was staged in South Africa.
Zambia and Zimbabwe have each won the competition on four previous occasions, with South Africa and Angola claiming three wins each.