1 June 2018 – Holders Zambia were handed a tough assignment in defence of their title when they were paired with regional rivals South Africa in the same group for next month’s Cosafa Under-17 Championship.

The 12-team tournament will be played in Mauritius from 19-29 July.

The host nation will be delighted with a draw that sees them avoid any of the southern African superpowers. They instead will take on Botswana, Namibia and the Seychelles.

Mauritius were seeded in Group A as hosts, but also on merit after finishing runners-up at the last year’s tournament, which they also hosted.

Zambia were top seeds in Group B where they will also take on Lesotho and Mozambique.

Group C is headed by Angola, who have been drawn alongside Malawi, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

The three group winners and best placed runner-up, determined first by the number of points obtained, advance from the group stages to the semifinals.

The importance of this championship has been heightened by the decision of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) that the winner will advance to represent the Cosafa region at the eight-team African U-17 Nations Cup in Tanzania next year (12 – 26 May 2019).

That tournament, in turn, will be used to determine which four African countries will play at the U-17 World Cup in Peru (17 September – 8 October 2019).

Twelve of Cosafa’s 14 members participate in the southern African championship this year, which is the third year in a row the tournament is played in Mauritius.

Group A: Mauritius (A1), Botswana (A2), Namibia (A3), Seychelles (A4)

Group B: Zambia (B1), Mozambique (B2), Lesotho (B3), South Africa (B4)

Group C: Angola (C1), Malawi (C2), Swaziland (C3), Zimbabwe (C4)