The 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championships, sponsored by PPC, will be staged in South Africa’s North West province from December 7-16.
The Southern African region’s top sides, including guest nations DR Congo and Sudan, will compete for the coveted prize as they seek to dislodge champions South Africa as trophy holders.
Below is the fourth in a series of team profiles that provides a brief synopsis of the competing teams, this week including guests Sudan and Mauritius.
MAURITIUS U20 PROFILE
Best finish: First Round
Last five finishes:
2008 – First Round
2009 – First Round
2010 – First Round
2011 – First Round
2013 – First Round
Mauritius will be looking to make history by getting out of the first round of the COSAFA Under-20 Championships for the first time when they compete in South Africa in 2016.
The side will be first and foremost hoping to improve on their last two showings though, when they managed just a single draw and five losses from their six games in 2011 and 2013.
The draw has not been particularly kind to them though, with matches in Group C against the host’s powerhouse Angola, Namibia and fellow islanders Seychelles.
This is a chance for Mauritius to show that their football is on the up and that there is exciting young talent among the islands.
The side will be coached by Joe Tshupula, who also led the senior side to the COSAFA Castle Cup in Namibia in June.
He will therefore have a chance to coach the next generation of Mauritian players in a tournament setting, providing excellent experience and potentially a fresh batch of young players for the senior national side.
SUDAN UNDER-20 PROFILE
Best finish: –
Last five finishes: –
Sudan were a late inclusion in the field for the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championships after the withdrawal of Namibia due to cash constraints.
But they will bring a wealth of talent to the event, which, like South Africa and Zambia, they will use as preparation for the African Youth Championships that will be staged in February and March.
Sudan won their place at the African Youth Championships by stunning the powerful Nigerians in the qualifiers and have been drawn in Group B at the finals where they will take on South Africa, Cameroon and Senegal.
There is a chance then that they may meet the South Africans in the COSAFA Under-20 Championships, providing excellent preparations for the continental competition for both sides.
Zambia, who will host those finals, are another potential opponent in the North West province.
The COSAFA Under-20 Championships are no stranger to guest nations with East African side Kenya reaching the final in 2013 before losing 2-0 to South Africa.
Sudan will take Namibia’s place in Group C at the championships, where they will meet Angola in their opening match on December 8, before clashes with Mauritius (December 10) and Seychelles (December 12).
The Democratic Republic of Congo are the other guest nation at the COSAFA Under-20 Championships having taken the place of Madagascar.