Windhoek — The Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) remains committed to the development of football in the region, despite the fact that the annual Cosafa Under-20 Championships will not be staged this year.
But Cosafa will instead be organising the men's Under-17 football tournament at the 2012 Zone VI U-20 Games to be staged in Lusaka, Zambia from December 7-16. Cosafa will also stage the women's Under-20 tournament at the Games.
"We are fully committed to the development of football in the Cosafa region and realise the importance of staging junior championships to assist in the nurturing of this talent. The Cosafa Under-20 Championships has grown enormously in stature over the last five years and we look forward to bringing the tournament back to our calendar shortly. In the meantime, we are looking forward to an excellent Zone VI U-20 Games and trust that the football competitions in Zambia will be of the usual high standard and of great enjoyment for those who participate," says Suketu Patel, Cosafa president.
Meanwhile Fifa, together with Cosafa, will conduct a youth coaching course for both male and female coaches in Lusaka, Zambia during the Zone VI U-20 Games. The aim is to improve the quality of coaches in the region, who then pass their new-found skills on to the youngsters under their guidance. The courses will be run by Fifa instructors Ulrich Mathiot from Seychelles and Fran Hilton-Smith from South Africa.
The referees appointed by Cosafa are those added to the Fifa panel for 2013 and recommended by the FIFA referees' development officer for Southern Africa. They too will be put through their paces ahead of the football competitions with fitness tests, as well as a refresher course conducted by the Fifa instructors in Zambia.
Both Football competitions at the Zone VI U20 Games will kick off on December 7 at the Nkoloma Stadium, with the finals to be staged on December 16 at the same venue.
The men's competition will see the teams split into two groups of five teams each after Mozambique and Zimbabwe withdrew their men's teams from their travelling party. The teams will play each other in a round-robin format with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the semi-finals.
The women's competition has four countries, which will all play one another also in a round-robin format, before heading to the semi-finals. The team that finishes on top will take on the third-placed side, while the second-placed nation will play the country that finishes fourth in the pool. Both finals will be played on December 16.
Meanwhile, the draw for the Zone VI Games football competition has been made for the youth games, which get underway on the 7th of next month. The Games will feature a 10-team men's Under-17 competition and a four-team women's Under-20 event that will serve as the Southern African championships in these age groups for this year.
The men's Under-17 tournament sees the 10 countries split into two groups of five teams. Namibia has been pitted in Group B alongside Angola, Swaziland, Mauritius and Lesotho. The women's Under-20 competition features hosts Zambia, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe and will be played in a single pool round-robin format.