The COSAFA Under-17 Championship returns for a second year in Mauritius with eight teams battling it out from July 21-30 to claim the trophy that was won in 2016 by Namibia.
The island nation proved a fantastic host 12 months ago as the latest group of young stars from the Southern African region got the chance to shine on the international stage.
The draw for the first round pool stage has already been made, with Group A containing Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Malawi.
Mauritius and Malawi are the only two sides from the pool who contested for the trophy in 2016, but the hosts were knocked out in the first round after just a single win in their three matches.
Malawi made it to the semi-finals after topping their pool following the disqualification of Zambia for fielding ineligible players, but they were narrowly defeated on penalties by Namibia after a 1-1 draw.
Group B this year contains last year’s beaten finalists South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and Madagascar.
Zambia will have a point to prove after their disqualification 12 months ago, and are riding a wave of success after the Under-20 team were crowned African champions and then excelled at the recent FIFA Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.
Mozambique did not compete in the COSAFA Under-17 Championship in 2016, while Madagascar lost all three of their games and will be hoping for a better showing.
The matches will be played at two venues – the Saint Francois Xavier in the Mauritius capital Port Louis, and the Mauritius Football Association Technical Centre.
The opening match will be played on July 21 as South Africa host Mozambique. The final will be played nine days later on July 30, with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the semifinals.
A regional Under-17 championship has been played in various guises since the first in 1994 that was won by South Africa on home soil with a 2-1 victory over Mozambique in the final.
Malawi claimed the title in 2001 as they beat hosts South Africa 3-0, before a year later the latter regained the trophy after finishing top of a mini-group of teams.
It was not until last year that the tournament was staged again.
Click here to view the full tournament fixtures!