There will be a slice of history made when the first ever COSAFA Under-20 Women’s Championship is staged in the South African coastal city of Port Elizabeth from August 1-11.
The event will run concurrently with the 2019COSAFA Women’s Championship and will see eight sides contest for the trophy, part of COSAFA’s commitment to grow the women’s game in the Southern African region.
It will be followed by a COSAFA Under-17 Women’s Championship in Mauritius in September, one of a massive six tournaments set to be staged by the regional body in 2019.
Seven of the eight sides have been confirmed for the Under-20 Women’s Championship, with the final member of the field to be determined before the draw on Wednesday, July 3 at COSAFA House in Johannesburg.
The confirmed sides so far are: Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The teams are set to be split into two pools each containing four sides, with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the semifinals.
“It is hugely exciting for us that we have managed to include a COSAFA Women’s Under-20 Championship tournament in this year’s calendar, what we hope will be the start of a regular place for this crucial age-group competition,” says the Chairman of COSAFA’s Competitions Committee, Mr Timothy Shongwe.
“The decision to run it concurrently with the COSAFA Women’s Championship in Port Elizabeth means that the teams will be able to mix and gives the younger girls an excellent opportunity to see what goes into competing at senior international level.
“We are grateful to the South African Football Association for their support, as well as our gracious hosts, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, who made us feel so welcome for the senior tournament in 2018.”
FIFA have contested a Women’s Uncder-20 World Cup since 2002, with the event being played every two years, the next scheduled for 2020, though a host has yet to be determined.
No COSAFA nation has ever qualified for the event, but this year’s regional showpiece competition gives them the perfect chance to prepare as they build towards the African qualifiers set for early next year.
Japan are the defending world champions in this age-group, though Germany and United States are historically the most successful with three wins each.