MASERU — Lesotho will host this year’s Confederation of Southern African Football Association (Cosafa) under-20 Youth Championships to take place from December 3-14.
The dates for the youth tournament were released by the regional football governing body Cosafa on Thursday.
The annual tourney is seen as key to the future development of football in the Cosafa region and this year Lesotho have been entrusted with hosting the best young talent in southern Africa.
All Member Associations of Cosafa have been invited to the tournament and are required to confirm their participation by Friday, September 27.
The draw for the championship will be held early in October in Lesotho, with the exact date to be communicated at a later stage.
“We are delighted that Lesotho has agreed to host this crucial tournament and look forward to working together with the Honourable Minister of Gender, Youth and Sport Thesele Maseribane, and the
Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) to
stage a world-class event,” said the statement from President of Cosafa, Suketu Patel.
“Lesotho has shown a desire to help develop the game in the Cosafa region and we have every confidence that this tournament will be a tremendous success. We would like to thank the Lesotho government for their unequivocal support.”
Sadly for the host country, Makoanyane XI coach, Moses Maliehe, told the Sunday Express his team is yet to begin preparations for the youth tournament.
“I’m in the dark as to when preparations will start because we have long handed our programme for the preparations and we are still waiting for approval from Lefa to give us funds to start preparing the team,” Maliehe said.
“We do not have a team as we speak.We have submitted our programme and waiting to be given funds to assemble the team,” he said.
He said the team was expected to have started earlier this month and have not been together since June.
“It is a sad situation because we will be hosting the tournament and a lot
will be expected from the team,” said Maliehe.
“It will be different to when we were preparing for the past competitions that were held outside the country. This time it is coming to our shores and our team is expected to do well as the home team meaning there will be more pressure for the boys,” he said.
Maliehe said it is going to be very tough if they do not start preparations soon.
The tournament will be played across two venues in Maseru and Mafeteng with a round-robin group stage featuring four pools. The top team in each group will advance to the semi-finals, after which the tournament switches to a knockout format.
The Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championship has been played in various guises since 1983, with Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa being the dominant forces in the region.
The last event to be staged was in Botswana in 2011, when Zambia beat Angola 2-1 in the final.
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