COSAFA Organisers have introduced several measures to assist teams with a compacted fixture list at the 2021 COSAFA Cup currently on the go in Nelson Mandela Bay.
A change in format to 10 teams in two pools of five has added an additional match to the tournament for all teams and opens the potential of player fatigue.
To that end, teams will be able to add an additional three players to their squads from their third game of the competition to lessen the load.
All teams in the competition named an initial 20 players in their squad but could also travel with five on ‘stand-by’ in case of COVID-19 infections.
Three of those five will now be added, should they choose to do so, from the third fixture onwards in a move that has been welcomed by the participants.
“Player welfare is of great importance to us, and we are very aware of the impact that adding an additional game to the competition would have on the teams,” COSAFA General Secretary Sue Destombes said. “It was therefore decided to allow teams to bring in three additional players from their third game onwards to alleviate this situation.”
COSAFA had already decided before the tournament started that nations could use up to five substitutes in matches, as per FIFA and CAF regulations that are in place until the end of 2022.
Meanwhile, COSAFA have also signed a sponsorship with leading energy sports drink brand Energade, who will provide their product to athletes to help them in the recovery phase during and after matches.
“Energade is proud to be the Sports Hydration partner of the 2021 COSAFA Cup on its 20th anniversary. The COSAFA Cup has proven to be a formidable tournament where Southern African teams test themselves and nurture young talent. As a brand, we understand how important it is for athletes to refuel, replenish and rehydrate for them to step up their game and perform at their best. This is why we are proud to partner with the 2021 COSAFA Cup and see to their hydration needs,” says Tamsyn Hendricks, Tiger Brands, Sports & Energy Brand Manger.
This is for the on-going COSAFA Cup and the COSAFA Women’s Championship that will be also played in Nelson Mandela Bay in September.
Energade’s sport performance range has been developed to deliver a rapidly available and effective source of carbohydrates and electrolytes to help replenish minerals lost through sport and exercise.
“We are delighted to have Energade on board as a sponsor for these two tournaments. The players will benefit greatly from this kind of product-related partnership, and we hope this is the start of a long-term relationship with Energade and more globally-recognised brand leaders across other spheres,” Destombes added.