14 June 2018– The South African U17 boys national team, Amajimbos, will open their 2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championships with a clash against Lesotho.
The draw for the finals was made at the recent 2018 COSAFA Cup Senior Men’s competition in Polokwane, Limpopo and has produced three intriguing groups.
Molefi Ntseki’s charges was drawn in Group B alongside defending champions Zambia, Mozambique and Lesotho.
Group A contains the hosts Mauritius, Botswana, 2016 champions Namibia and Seychelles. Group C also has an unpredictable air about it as Zimbabwe face-off against Angola, Malawi and Swaziland.
South Africa and Lesotho will meet on Friday, 20 July at 13h30 South African time. This will be followed by a fixture against Mozambique two days later (Sunday, 22 July) at 10h00 – and both matches will be played at the Auguste Vollaire Stadium in Flacq.
For the final group stages, the South Africans will travel to the capital Port Louis to face Zambia on Tuesday, 24 July at the St Francois Xavier Stadium at 13h00.
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 COSAFA U17 Championship will have added significance this year when they serve as the qualifier from the Southern African region for the continental finals to be staged in Tanzania next year. Only the winners of the COSAFA tournament will appear in East Africa, which in turn will serve as a qualifier for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Peru.
Given the additional importance of the regional event in 2018, the field for the Mauritius finals from July 19 – 29 has been expanded to a record 12 teams, up from eight in the previous two editions. It is the third year in a row that Mauritius has acted as hosts, and for local fans it will be an opportunity first-hand to see the brightest young talents from the region on display.
Matches will be played at the Auguste Vollaire Stadium in Flacq and St Francois Xavier Stadium in the Mauritian capital of Port Louis. Namibia and Seychelles will open the tournament on July 19 in Port Louis, with the pool stage to continue every day until July 25. That will be followed by a rest day, with the semifinals to be staged on July 27, and the third-place play-off and final on July 29. The knockout stages will all be played in Port Louis.
A regional Under-17 championship has been played in various guises since the first in 1994 that was won by Amajimbos on home soil with a 2-1 victory over Mozambique in the final Malawi claimed the title in 2001 as they beat hosts South Africa 3-0, before a year later the latter regained the trophy after finishing top of a mini-group of teams.
Namibia claimed what was seen as an unlikely triumph in 2016, before Zambia took the trophy home last year. Matches will be broadcast on Kwese Sports (www.kwese.com)
2018 COSAFA UNDER-17 CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES:
*Kick-off is South African time (Mauritius is 2 hours ahead of South Africa)
19 JulyM01 Namibia vs Seychelles 08h00 – St Francois Xavier
19 JulyM02 Zambia vs Mozambique 10h30 – St Francois Xavier
19 JulyM03 Mauritius vs Botswana 13h30 – St Francois Xavier
20 JulyM04 Angola vs Malawi 08h00 – Auguste Vollaire
20 JulyM05 Swaziland vs Zimbabwe 10h30 – Auguste Vollaire
20 July M06 Lesotho vs South Africa 13h30 – Auguste Vollaire
21 JulyM07 Botswana vs Seychelles 10h00 – St Francois Xavier
21 JulyM08 Mauritius vs Namibia 13h00 – St Francois Xavier
22 July M09 Mozambique vs South Africa 10h00 – Auguste Vollaire
22 JulyM10 Zambia vs Lesotho 13h00 – Auguste Vollaire
23 JulyM11 Malawi vs Zimbabwe 10h00 – St Francois Xavier
23 JulyM12 Angola vs Swaziland 13h00 – St Francois Xavier
24 JulyM13 Namibia vs Botswana 10h00 – Auguste Vollaire
24 JulyM14 Seychelles vs Mauritius 10h00 – St Francois Xavier
24 JulyM15 Lesotho vs Mozambique 13h00 – Auguste Vollaire
24 July M16 South Africa vs Zambia 13h00 – St Francois Xavier
25 JulyM17 Swaziland vs Malawi 13h30 – Auguste Vollaire
25 JulyM18 Zimbabwe vs Angola 13h30 – St Francois Xavier
27 JulyM19 Win Grp B vs Best Loser 10h30 – St Francois Xavier
27 JulyM20 Win Grp A vs Win Grp C 13h30 – St Francois Xavier
29 JulyM21 Loser M19 vs Loser M20 09h00 – St Francois Xavier
29 JulyM22 Win M19 vs Win M20 13h00 – St Francois Xavier