African Youth Championship qualifiers Sudan will replace Namibia in the field for the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championships to be staged in South Africa’s North West province from December 7-16.
Namibia have withdrawn from the competition due to financial constraints, but will be replaced by the North Africans to give the competition even more of a continental feel.
The Democratic Republic of Congo are also to compete in South Africa as representatives of Central Africa, providing another fascinating contrast in styles for fans to enjoy.
Sudan will take Namibia’s place in Group C at the championships, where they will meet Angola in their opening match on December 8, before clashes with Mauritius (December 10) and Seychelles (December 12).
“We are obviously disappointed that Namibia will not be competing at the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Championships but understand their reasons for withdrawing from the competition. We are delighted to welcome a team of the calibre of Sudan though and we are sure they will put on quite a show for fans. Sudan have proven themselves to be a quality team at Under-20 and senior national team level and we are sure they will be among the front-runners for the title,” says the Chairman of COSAFA’s Competitions Committee, Mr Timothy Shongwe.
Sudan won their place at the African Youth Championships by stunning the powerful Nigerians in the qualifiers and have been drawn in Group B at the finals where they will take on South Africa, Cameroon and Senegal.
There is a chance then that they may meet the South Africans in the COSAFA Under-20 Championships, providing excellent preparations for the continental competition for both sides. Zambia, who will host those finals, are another potential opponent in the North West province.
The COSAFA Under-20 Championships are no stranger to guest nations with East African side Kenya reaching the final in 2013 before losing 2-0 to South Africa.