Holders South Africa will take on neighbours Mozambique in the quarterfinals of the 2022 COSAFA Cup after the draw for the July 5-17 competition was conducted at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium in host city Durban on Tuesday.
It is a tasty clash to look forward to, but there will also be plenty of others as the regional showpiece tournament sees west African guest nation Senegal return for a second year in a row after they finished runners up behind South Africa in 2021.
The Lions of Teranga will take on the winners of the first round Group B, where Lesotho meet Malawi, Mauritius and Eswatini.
Madagascar will face the Brave Warriors of Namibia in the third of the quarterfinals, while five-time winners Zambia tackle the winner of Group A, which contains Angola, Comoros, Seychelles, and Botswana in what is likely to be a hotly contested pool.
Only the top team in each pool will advance to the quarterfinals, making it a fierce battle for a place in the knockout stages.
The winners of the quarterfinals will advance to the semifinal round, while the losers will drop into the Plate competition and ensure they do have further matches to fine-tune for the upcoming African Nations Championship and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Durban will host the competition for the second time have been the perfect stage for the 2019 event that was won by Zambia as they defeated Botswana in the decider.
Ms Hlengiwe Mavimbela, MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture in KwaZulu-Natal, says they are delighted to have the COSAFA Cup back in the province.
“The Province of KwaZulu-Natal is proud to host the 2022 COSAFA CUP after missing out on the tournament last year,” Ms Mavimbela says. “This tournament will bring excitement to KZN as it is taking place at a time when our province is recovering from the destructive floods and other recent events that have caused devastation in our province.
“We call upon football lovers in KZN who meet the set criteria in relation to COVID-19 regulations, to come out in numbers to support all teams participating in the COSAFA Cup. We look forward to welcoming the senior men’s teams from our region who will be competing in this tournament.”
Fans will be able to attend matches at this year’s tournament for the first time since 2019, though strict COVID-19 protocols will be in place to ensure the safety of all at the stadium.
Venues may only be filled to 50% of their capacity and supporters must produce either a vaccination certificate, or a PCR test no older than 72 hours.
Tickets availability for attendance will be announced and published in the coming days.
COSAFA also announced a partnership with Hollywoodbets for the 2022 year that will see the fast-growing South African-based betting company take title sponsorship of four tournaments.
These include the flagship COSAFA Cup, the COSAFA Women’s Champions League in Durban from August 4-14, the COSAFA Women’s Championship in Gqeberha from August 31-September 11, COSAFA Men’s U20 in Eswatini – 6/16 October, COSAFA Beach Soccer Championship that will also be staged in Durban from September 17-25.
Devin Heffer, Brand and Communications Manager for Hollywoodbets, says COSAFA is a natural fit for their sponsorship portfolio.
“We are delighted to come on board as the new title sponsors for four of the 2022 COSAFA tournaments,” Heffer says. “It was a great opportunity that we had to grasp. The deal will run for one-year and comprises of naming rights to the COSAFA CUP, COSAFA Women’s Championship, the COSAFA Women’s Champions League and the COSAFA Beach Soccer Championship, meaning that this new relationship will allow us as Hollywoodbets to grow our reach in the African Football community.
“The competitions play a vital role in unearthing new talents and the development of football in Southern Africa. We know that this new partnership will bear fruit for both parties and we look forward to witnessing a great COSAFA Cup from July 5.”
COSAFA Secretary General Sue Destombes says the partnership with Hollywoodbets is vital for the staging of world-class competitions.
“We are delighted to have Hollywoodbets back as a partner of COSAFA this year and they have once again displayed their desire to help develop football in the Southern African region,” says Destombes.
“All of our tournaments have a development angle to them, even our senior men’s and women’s competitions, and are vital steppingstones to success for the players and coaches that take part.
“Our partnership with Hollywoodbets will ensure we are able to maintain the highest standards on and off the pitch and for that we are thankful for their valued support.”
South Africa and Zambia will be hoping to join Zimbabwe on six tournament wins this year having each won five. Angola (three) and Namibia (one) are the only other winners of the regional showpiece event.
Mozambique, Malawi, and Botswana have all twice been finalists, but ended up on the losing side on both occasions. Lesotho are the only other team to reach the decider.
2022 COSAFA CUP DRAW
Madagascar vs Namibia
Zambia vs Winner Group A
South Africa vs Mozambique
Senegal vs Winners Group B