Coaches at the Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup 2022 to be staged in Durban from July 5-17 have received a massive boost after the COSAFA Executive Committee and Organising Committee for Competitions took the decision to increase the squad sizes for the teams to 23.
The squads had previously been limited to 20 players, but in line with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) practice of allowing 23 members at their major competitions, COSAFA have followed suit.
That will allow coaches to expand their options, especially as they may now also use five substitutes during matches in line with new regulations implemented by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) that will make the trend global from next season, should competitions wish to implement it.
The three added players will be a huge plus for teams that hope to go from the group stages to the final, where they will have to play six matches in either 12 or 13 days, depending on which first round pool they are in.
It is a punishing schedule, but one achieved by Namibia when they won the competition in 2015 and a number of other sides who have reached the Cup of Plate final.
Having those three extra players and the ability to rotate that little bit more in key positions can be the difference between winning and losing.
A number of coaches have already announced their preliminary squads of 30 players, which must be submitted by Wednesday, June 22. The finalised squad of 23 to play in the competition must then be handed to COSAFA by Monday, June 27.
Other key regulations for this year’s competitions are:
Deciding group places
Should two or more teams finish on the same number of points in the pool phase, they will be separated by the result of their head-to-head meetings in the first instance.
If this does not provide a conclusion, the next criteria will be goal-difference in matches between them, goals scored in matches between them and finally goal-difference in all group matches.
Should that not settle the matter, a Fair Play points system in which the number of yellow and red cards are evaluated will be used and failing that there will be the drawing of lots.
There will be no extra-time played in the quarterfinals and semifinals of the competition, tied matches will go straight to penalties.
However, the Cup Final will have two 15-minute periods of extra-time if the match is all-square after 90 minutes. Should there still be no winner, then penalties will decide the winner. The Plate Final will go straight to penalties after 90 minutes.
If a player received two yellow cards in the tournament, he will be suspended for one match. However, bookings picked up in the group phase fall away ahead of the knockout phase, unless it is the final pool stage game, in which case the suspension is carried over.
If a player receives a red card in a game, he will also serve a one-match suspension. If a player received two red cards in the tournament, he will be suspended for the rest of the competition and play no further part.
If through ‘force majeure’ (such as weather), a match is abandoned and therefore cannot be played in its entirety, the Organising and Disciplinary Committees shall decide whether the match result at the time of abandonment is valid or whether the match shall be replayed, taking sporting and organisational considerations into account.