The Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho has been confirmed as host nation for the 2013 COSAFA Under-20 Youth Championships that will be played from December 3-14. According to report on the official COSAFA website , the annual event is seen as key to the future development of football in the COSAFA region and this year Lesotho have been entrusted with hosting the best young talent in Southern Africa.
All Member Associations of COSAFA have been invited to the tournament and are required to confirm their participation by Friday, September 27. The draw for the championship will be held in early October in Lesotho, with the exact date to be communicated at a later stage.
“We are delighted that Lesotho has agreed to host this crucial tournament and look forward to working together with the Honourable Minister of Gender, Youth and Sport Thesele Maseribane, and the Lesotho Football Association (LEFA) to stage a world-class event,” says Suketu Patel, President of Cosafa.
“Lesotho have shown a desire to help develop the game in the COSAFA region and we have every confidence that this tournament will be a tremendous success. We would like to thank the Lesotho government for their unequivocal support.”
The tournament will be played across two venues – Maseru and Mafeteng – with a round-robin group stage featuring four pools. The top team in each group will advance to the semifinals, after which the tournament switches to a knockout format.
The COSAFA Under-20 Youth Championship has been played in various guises since 1983, with Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa the dominant forces in the region.
The last event to be staged was in Botswana in 2011, when Zambia pipped Angola 2-1 in the final.
A number of the region’s top stars have cut their teeth at the COSAFA Under-20 Youth Championships, which has served as an excellent stepping-stone from junior football into the professional ranks.