10 October 2019 – Teams participating in the 2019 COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship to be staged in Blantyre, Malawi have started arriving in the country ahead of the tournament’s kick-off on Friday.
Comoros, who are taking part for the first time, were the first team to arrive via Chileka International Airport on Tuesday afternoon, while Lesotho and Angola landed at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
Mozambique travelled by road from Tete and also arrived on Wednesday through Mwanza Boarder. South Africa travelled in two groups through Chileka with the first one arriving on Wednesday and the other on Thursday. Zambia also arrived on Wednesday while Eswatini will jet in on Thursday.
The referees for the tournament arrived on Saturday and have, since Sunday, been attending a pre-tournament referees’ course which ends on Thursday.
COSAFA Deputy General Secretary and Competition Manager Suzgo Nyirenda, who is a former Football Association of Malawi (FAM) General Secretary, will lead the COSAFA team in inspecting all facilities ahead of the event.
FAM Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said all is set for the country to host the tournament.
“On behalf of the LOC Chairman, I would like to say that we are excited to host the tournament, and everything is in place and we can’t wait for the games to start. After the inspections we will meet with COSAFA to finalise the whole programme of the event,” said Zakazaka.
Malawi are in Group A alongside South Africa, Zambia and Eswatini while Group B has Lesotho, Comoros Angola and Mozambique. Lesotho will face Comoros in the tournament’s opening fixture at the Mpira Stadium in Chiwembe on Friday, before Angola takes on Mozambique later in the afternoon.
The official opening ceremony is on Saturday at the same venue as Eswatini play Zambia in a Group B opener at 11am before Malawi face South Africa at 2pm.