As the teams prepare to gather for the 2019 COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship in Malawi from October 11-20, a look back at previous finals makes for some interesting reading. What perhaps stands out the most is the fact that the last six competitions have all been won by different nations, suggesting there are no teams with a dominance in the region in this age-group.
That is almost unique to other COSAFA competitions, where the heavyweights of Southern Africa tend to rule the trophy wins, but not so in the Under-17 age-group.
South Africa are the only side to lift the trophy twice (1994 and 2002), while the other five finals have been shared between five different teams.
The South Africans might have expected more wins given they have been in the final a record six times, but only managed to convert a third of those into trophy wins.
Malawi (2001), Zimbabwe (2007), Namibia (2016), Zambia (2017) and Angola (2018) are the other teams to have claimed silverware in the history of the competition.
The biggest margin of victory in the final is 3-0, achieved by Malawi over South Africa and Zambia over then hosts Mauritius. The final has twice gone to a penalty shoot-out and both times South Africa were the unlucky team, losing to Zimbabwe (2-4) and Namibia (1-3) in successive finals, which both ended in 1-1 draws.
There was no final played in 2002, with the four-team competition played in a round-robin format.
South Africa won all three games against Botswana (2-0), Swaziland (5-4) and Lesotho (4-0) to end on nine points, with the three other teams all claiming two points from their encounters.
The longest stretch between finals was from 2007 and 2016, though this will be the fourth year in a row that the COSAFA Men’s Uncder-17 Championship will be played, highlighting COSAFA’s commitment to junior football.
COSAFA MEN’S UNDER-17 CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS
YEAR HOST FINAL
1994 South Africa South Africa 2-1 Mozambique
2001 South Africa Malawi 3-0 South Africa
2002 South Africa South Africa won round-robin competition
2007 Namibia Zimbabwe (4)1-1(2) South Africa
2016 Mauritius Namibia (3)1-1(1) South Africa
2017 Mauritius Zambia 3-0 Mauritius
2018 Mauritius Angola 1-0 South Africa