19 June 2018 – As COSAFA nations prepare for the highly-anticipated COSAFA U17 Championships, here are some interesting facts about the U17 edition of the tournament.
0 – No nation from the COSAFA region has managed to lift the African Under-17 Championship in the past. South Africa came closest when they picked up a silver medal in 2015. Malawi also finished fourth in 2009.
2 – There are two venues for the 2017 COSAFA Under-17 Championship – Auguste Vollaire Stadium in Flacq and St Francois Xavier Stadium in the Mauritian capital of Port Louis.
3 – Mauritius are hosts of the COSAFA Under-17 Championship for the third year running after staging the event in 2016 and 2017.
5 – There have been five other tournaments played loosely under the banner of a regional Under-17 championship. South Africa have won two of these in 1994 and 2002, Malawi claimed success in 2001, Namibia were victorious in 2016 and Zambia claimed the title last year.
5 – Three players managed to score five goals in last year’s COSAFA Under-17 Championship and ended up joint top-scorers – Lameck Banda (Zambia), Junior Nare (South Africa), Martin Njobvu (Zambia)
8 – The most goals scored in a single game in last year’s championship was eight as Zambia beat Madagascar 7-1.
12 – There will be a record 12 teams entered for the 2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championship. Group A contains the hosts Mauritius, Botswana, 2016 champions Namibia and Seychelles. Group B promises to be a hard-fought one with defending champions Zambia up against regional powerhouse rivals South Africa, Mozambique and Lesotho. Group C also has an unpredictable air about it as Zimbabwe face-off against Angola, Malawi and Swaziland.
14 – The COSAFA Under-17 Championship is open to all 14 of the nations that make up the Southern African regional body. Only Comoros and Madagascar declined to compete in 2018.
19 – The 2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championship starts on July 19 and runs to July 29.
22 – The 2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championship features 22 matches, 18 in the first-round group stage, two semifinals, a third-place play-off and a final.
54 – There were 54 goals scored in the 16 matches played at the 2017 COSAFA Under-17 Championship, an average of more than three per game!
2019 – The COSAFA Under-17 Championship serves as a qualifier for the 2019 African Under-17 Championships to be played in Tanzania (12 – 26 May 2019). They in turn serve as qualifiers for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup next year (5 – 27 October 2019) in Peru.