This will be the sixth year in a row that the HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Women’s Championship has been held, a sign once more of COSAFA’s commitment to the development of the women’s game in the region.
The tournament will be hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay from August 31-September 11, with African champions South Africa and fellow 2023 FIFA World Cup qualifiers Zambia headlining the field.
We round up the numbers ahead of this year’s competition.
1 – Tanzania became the first guest nation to claim the trophy when they defeated Malawi 1-0 in the 2021 decider. They will be back to defend their title in 2022!
1 – That was a first final appearance for Malawi, one of six nations to reach the decider, but who have never claimed the trophy. The others are Namibia (2006), Angola (2008), Cameroon (2018), Zambia (2019) and Botswana (2020).
1 – 2021 was also the first time South Africa failed to reach the final. In fact, they did not get a medal at all after losing the bronze medal match on penalties to Zambia. They lost their semifinal game 3-2 to Malawi.
2 – The number of COSAFA sides that have qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup … South Africa became the first when they made their debut in France in 2019. They will be there again in 2023 but have been joined in the field by Zambia!
3 – Zambia made their maiden appearance in the COSAFA Women’s Championship final in 2019, but lost 1-0 to hosts South Africa. They have also finished third at the tournament on four occasions (2002, 2006, 2017, 2021), the most of any team.
3 – The number of nations who have won the African Women’s Championship. Nigeria have 11 titles, Equatorial Guinea two and South Africa claimed their maiden success in Morocco this year when they beat the hosts 2-1 in the final. It was a case of sixth time lucky after losing five previous finals.
4 – The three groups in this year’s competition will each contain four sides. Only the top nation and the best-placed runner-up advance to the semifinals.
4 – South Africa coach Desiree Ellis has lifted the COSAFA Women’s Championship trophy on four occasions (2017-20), making her the most successful coach in the competition’s history. She will be hoping to make it five this year after missing out in 2021!
5 – South Africa will be hosting the COSAFA Women’s Championship for the fifth time. Zimbabwe (2002, 2011, 2017) have hosted on three previous occasions, with Zambia (2006) and Angola (2008) staging the event once each.
5 – This is also the fifth year in a row that the tournament will be played in Nelson Mandela Bay, which has become a happy home for COSAFA’s flagship women’s competition.
7 – The number of COSAFA countries that have competed at the African Women’s Championship in the past – South Africa (13 times), Zimbabwe (four), Zambia (four), Angola (two), Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana. The latter reached the quarterfinals on debut this year. Associate member Reunion also made an appearance in 2000.
7 – South Africa have won the COSAFA Women’s Championship on seven previous occasions – 2002, 2006, 2008, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. They also made the final in 2011 but lost to hosts Zimbabwe.
10 – This year’s COSAFA Women’s Championship will be the 10th time the regional showpiece competition has been held, all since the inaugural event in 2002.
10 – Zimbabwean hot-shot Rutendo Makore was top-scorer at the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship with 10 goals but could not fire her side to a final win. It was a similar story for Zambia’s Racheal Nachula, who also netted 10 times in 2019, but finished with a silver medal.
12 – The number of teams that will compete at the COSAFA Women’s Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay this year, namely Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.
12 – South African striker Noko Matlou banged in 12 goals in the 2008 COSAFA Women’s Championship, which helped her lift the CAF Women’s Footballer of the Year prize that season. Remarkably, she is still part of the team but is now a central defender.
13 – The Golden Boot winner in the last two years’ competitions has been South Africa’s Sibulele Holweni, who netted eight goals in 2020 and another five in 2021 for a total of 13. Not bad considering she is mostly a left0back these days!
17 – The number of goals scored by South Africa when they defeated Comoros 17-0 in their Group A clash in 2019. It is the biggest win in COSAFA Women’s Championship history.
31 – The number of goals scored by South Africa in their three COSAFA Women’s Championship Group B matches in 2002. They beat Botswana (14-0), Mozambique (13-0) and Swaziland (4-0) on their way to the title. It is the most ever scored in the pool stages.
54 – South Africa are the top-ranked side in the COSAFA region according to the FIFA Women’s World Rankings at number 55. They are the second best team in Africa according to the list after Nigeria (46).
65 – The number of goals scored in 22 matches at the 2020 COSAFA Women’s Championship, a healthy average of almost three per game!
185 – The number of national teams on the FIFA Women’s World Rankings. A total of 44 of those are from Africa.