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Malawi gets Cosafa under-17 hosting rights

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By Mabvuto Kambuwe:

Malawi has been granted hosting rights for this year’s Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) under-17 Championship.

The announcement was made during Cosafa’s annual general meeting (AGM) in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Saturday.

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There are indications that the competition would take place in July but exact dates are yet to be announced.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) General Secretary, Alfred Gunda, confirmed the development in an interview from South Africa.

“At the AGM, Cosafa has approved a rotational hosting plan for its tournaments. In the plan, Malawi is tagged to host the 2019 u-17 tournament. With this development, the Executive Committee will deliberate and affirm the same at its next meeting.

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“This is a great opportunity for the development processes that Fam is undertaking in youth football and, indeed, an opportunity for the Malawian football family to see and support the future of our football in a regional competition at home,” Gunda said.

Cosafa deputy Chief Executive Officer, Suzgo Nyirenda, also confirmed the development.

“In February 2018, Cosafa’s Executive Committee resolved to use the rotation system in the hosting of its competitions. This system is used in the [African Union Sports Council] Region Five Games and gives equal opportunities to all member associations to host a particular tournament.

“We have devised a rotation system which will see countries that have never hosted a tournament doing so. Malawi last hosted the tournament some 16 years ago and it was high time that we hosted one of the tournaments,” Nyirenda said.

One of the country’s football coaches, Thom Mkorongo, said this is a great opportunity for the country to develop the game’s infrastructure.

“Hosting the competition will give our players international exposure and experience. But we need to prepare well for the tournament so that we perform well. With good preparations, we can win the cup on home soil,” Mkorongo said.

Fam is expected to engage the government through the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development to get a guarantee of support to host the event.

By hosting the tournament, the country’s football governing body will be responsible for the production of entry tickets.

Fam is expected to reap benefits of hosting the competition as the association will get all proceeds.

But the country needs to invest resources in hosting the event as there are several requirements that need to be met.

The requirements include availability of at least two stadia for hosting matches, adequate training facilities, provision of security at all matches and at the hotels where teams will be lodging.

The host country is also expected to provide medical facilities such as fully fledged ambulances and ensure the presence of a big hospital within the radius of 20 kilometers from match venues.

But Cosafa bears the cost of accommodating all teams as well as local transport for all teams and officials.

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