Hosts Zambia have been drawn in a tough first round pool as they prepare for the 2019 COSAFA Men’s Under-20 Championships in Lusaka from December 4-14.
The 12 teams have been drawn into three groups each containing four sides, with the top team in each pool advancing to the semifinals along with the best-placed runner-up.
Zambia will challenge old foe Malawi, Comoro Islands and tricky Botswana in their pool and Young Chipolopolo skipper Prince Mumba is aware of the challenge.
“I think Group A seems to be the toughest group but we are ready for the task. We have been meeting these teams before, we will definitely deliver seeing as we are hosting,” Mumba said.
Group B contains defending champions South Africa, who must take on Lesotho, Madagascar and Mauritius for a place in the semifinals.
Group C is also a tough one to call with Angola, Mozambique, Eswatini and Seychelles all in the mix.
Matches will be broadcast live on COSAFA TV so that fans from around the world can follow the young stars.
South Africa have claimed the last two editions of the finals, but with the majority of that team having now graduated up to the Under-23s, there is the very real chance of a new champion.
In fact, South Africa (four titles) and Zambia (three) are the only nations to have lifted the trophy in the last seven championships to have been played since 2009.
Two venues are scheduled to be used this year, the Nkoloma and Woodlands stadia in Lusaka.
The championship is the culmination of a busy 12 months for COSAFA, that has also seen the staging of the Men’s Senior and Under-17 championships, and Women’s Senior, Under-20 and Under-17 finals, a record six competitions.
COSAFA Men’s Under-20 Championship Draw:
A1 – Zambia
A2 – Malawi
A3 – Comoros Islands
A4 – Botswana
B1 – South Africa
B2 – Lesotho
B3 – Madagascar
B4 – Mauritius
C1 – Angola
C2 – Mozambique
C3 – Eswatini
C4 – Seychelles