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Malawi to host 2022 Cosafa

GETTING SET—Flames under-17 training at Mpira Stadium last year

Suzgo Nyirenda

Council for Southern Africa Football Association (Cosafa) says Malawi will host the Under-17 zonal qualifiers in December, 2022.

The competition will be played during the Region 5 Youth Games which the country will host.

Cosafa Vice General Secretary Suzgo Nyirenda, who is responsible for competitions, confirmed the development.

“Cosafa has an agreement with AUSC Region 5 to organize Cosafa competitions during the youth games. For next year’s (2021) in Lesotho and in 2022 in Malawi, Cosafa will organise Under-17 boys and Under-20 girls’ competitions,” he said.

The Region 5 Youth Games are played after every two years but the 2020 edition was postponed due to Covid-19 and has been pushed to December next year- meaning the games will be played back-to back.

Malawi was expected to host the 2020 Cosafa Under-17 zonal qualifiers but was also postponed due to Covid-19, as government did not guarantee the hosting of the tournament. Instead, this year’s Under-17 tournament will take place in South Africa from November 19-30.

It will be the first time for Malawi to host the Region 5 Games which attracts over 3500 athletes from various countries in different sporting codes. The government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, has already started preparations for the event.

Spokesperson for Ministry of Sports Simon Mbvundula said preparations were underway.

“We are in the process of signing an agreement with Luanar to use part of their facilities such as hostels to accommodate the athletes. We are also upgrading our infrastructures,” he said.

Government will construct the Indoor Sports Complex rehabilitate the Kamuzu Institute for Sports ahead of the event. Meanwhile, South Africa is also expected to host this year’s Women’s Senior Cosafa championship from November 3-14 in Nelson Mandela Bay and the Under-17 girls championship from November 5 to 11. Cosafa announced Friday that two more teams have confirmed their participation in this year’s competition-bringing the number to 10 from eight.

Eswatini and Lesotho have confirmed their participation joining Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Angola, Comoros Islands, Zimbabwe, Botswana and defending champions South Africa.

The competition’s format has also changed to three pools instead of the two that were initially planned according to Cosafa website. Group A will have four teams whereas Group B and C will each have three teams. The group winners will advance to the semifinals of the competition and they will be joined by the best runners-up.

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