MASERU — The first country to arrive for the Council of Southern African Football Association (Cosafa) Under-20 youth championships, Angola, is expected to jet into the country on Thursday, two days ahead of the official arrival date for the rest of the countries coming for the tournament.
The two-week football fiesta is set to roar into life from December 3 to 14 and will see 13 countries from the sub region join host Lesotho as they battle for the prestigious youth championship title.
The official opening match will see the national team Makoanyane XI, locking horns with Comoros Islands on the evening of December 3 at Setsoto Stadium in Maseru.
Cosafa local organising committee (LOC) chairperson and Lefa second vice president, Lebohang Thotanyana, in an interview with Sunday Express yesterday confirmed that the Angolans will be the first to set foot in Lesotho.
“Yes, Angola will be the first of the 13 countries to arrive in the country to partake in this prestigious regional youth tourney.
“They will arrive two days earlier than the official arrival of other teams,” Thotanyana said.
He said the other countries are expected to start arriving in the country from November 30 in time for preparations for the opening match.
“I cannot say the exact date when other countries will arrive but the official day for arrival is November 30,” he added.
According to Thotanyana, everything is set for this historic event although there are a few challenges, especially pertaining to grounds that will be used for training sessions.
“Everything is set for the tournament except for a few challenges that need to be attended to at some of the grounds that will be used for training sessions during Cosafa,” Thotanyana said.
Practice sessions are expected to be held at the Pitso ground, LCS and at the Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena while the two stadia, Setsoto Stadium and the Seeiso Leshoboro Stadium will be used for the main games.
In preparation for the tournament, Makoanyane XI, played to a one-all draw with Swaziland on Friday before departing to Mozambique for another friendly with the home team.
The last preparation match against South Africa will be held on December 1.
The tournament has been sponsored by, among others, the South African government with M10 million expected to cover transport and accommodation costs for all the 14 countries, while the Lesotho government and corporate communities have put in M10 million and M5 million respectively.