Botswana have confirmed their withdrawal from the 2020 COSAFA Women’s Under-17 Championship to be hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay from November 5-13, citing an inability to secure the release of players from schools due to final year exams.
It means the competition will be reduced to five teams, and in turn provides a change of format into a single group where all sides play one-another in a round-robin format.
That ensures four matches for the remaining sides, who are hosts South Africa, Comoros, East African guest nation Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
It is likely to be a highly competitive pool with teams earning three points for a win and one for a draw.
The fixtures will be decided on Thursday when the draw is made for the competition, along with the senior COSAFA Women’s Championship that will also be staged in Nelson Mandela Bay from November 3-14.
The draw is at 10h00 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and will be streamed live on COSAFA.TV.
The Botswana Football Association (BFA) confirmed to COSAFA that they will be unable to assemble a team for the Under-17 tournament, having featured in the inaugural competition in Mauritius last year.
“We regret to inform you that we are unable to proceed with the Under-17 Championship due to the following …,” BFA revealed.
“1, the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Botswana, mainly in schools.
2, the Under-17 team is made up mainly from school-going players who have already lost school time due to [the] COVID-19 pandemic.
“3, the students are due to write their end of year exams; hence, we are at a time where we cannot risk getting the students out of school for such a long time.”
Botswana will still be sending their senior women’s side to that competition.