27 June 2018 – For a country that has produced so many top players down the years, Zimbabwe have perhaps not done as well as they might at Under-17 level. The Southern African giants have yet to lift the regional COSAFA Under-17 Championship title, which is a surprising statistic for such a power of the African game.

Zimbabwe have, however, qualified for the African Under-17 Championships on four previous occasions, more than any other side from the region. All of those came between 1997 and 2009, when they exited in the group stages on all four occasions.

Zimbabwe have not entered the qualifiers for the continental competition in the last four editions but returned to compete in the COSAFA competition in 2017.

They had skipped the 2016 event, but featured in Mauritius 12 months ago, though it would be a disappointing first round exit.

The side lost their Group A opener 1-0 to hosts and eventual finalists Mauritius, before a 5-0 defeat at the hands of bronze medalists Malawi. They completed their campaign with a 2-1 reversal at the hands of Botswana.

The side is set to be coached at the 2018 competition by Tafadzwa Mashiri.

Zimbabwe Profile:

COSAFA Under-17 Championship wins (0): None
Last years’ finish: Group Stages

African Under-17 Championship appearances (4): 1997, 1999, 2005, 2009
Best finish: Group Stages (1997, 1999, 2005, 2009)

FIFA Under-17 World Cup appearances (0): None

2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championship fixtures:
20/07: vs Swaziland – 12h30 – Auguste Vollaire Stadium
23/07: vs Malawi – 12h00 – St Francois Xavier Stadium
25/07: vs Angola – 15h30 – St Francois Xavier Stadium