A profile of 2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championship hopefuls South Africa, who are seeking to extend their record number of titles to three in Mauritius from July 19-29.
COSAFA Under-17 Championship wins (2): 1994, 2002
Last years’ finish: Fourth
African Under-17 Championship appearances (3): 2005, 2007, 2015
Best finish: Runners-up (2015)
FIFA Under-17 World Cup appearances (1): 2015
Best finish: Group Stages (2015)
2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championship fixtures:
20/07: vs Lesotho – 15h30 – Auguste Vollaire Stadium
22/07: vs Mozambique – 12h00 – Auguste Vollaire Stadium
24/07: vs Zambia – 15h00 – St Francois Xavier Stadium
South Africa have been the most successful side in COSAFA Under-17 Championship history with two winners-medal and a runners-up places in 2001 and 2016.
In fact, the only time they did not make the final was last year in Mauritius when they lost 2-0 to their hosts and had to settle for fourth place after losing to Malawi in the bronze-medal match.
They did make the final two years ago, when the championships were also staged in Mauritius, but were surprise losers to Namibia on penalties in the decider.
South Africa are one of only two COSAFA nations, the other being Malawi, to reach the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, which they managed in 2015 when it was hosted in Chile.
They managed just a single point in the pool stages though as they were edged 2-1 by Costa Rica, before drawing 1-1 with North Korea. They then lost 2-0 to Russia to exit at the first stage.
South Africa’s previous successes in the COSAFA Under-17 Championship came when they beat Mozambique 2-1 some 24 years ago, before they edged Swaziland into first place in 2001 when the competition was decided on points.
They also have three visits to the African Under-17 Championship, finished fourth in 2005 and second in 2015.
The side will be coached again by long-time mentor Molefi Ntseki, who also took the side to Chile three years ago.