Hosts and defending champions South Africa have been drawn in a tricky pool for the 2021 COSAFA Women’s Championship that will be staged in Nelson Mandela Bay from September 15-26.
Banyana Banyana, who have won the last four championships staged, will take on Angola, Malawi and Mozambique in Group A, with only the top team guaranteed a place in the semifinals.
Group B contains last season’s runners-up Botswana, 2011 winners Zimbabwe, and guest nations Tanzania and South Sudan, and is another pool that will be hard to call.
Group C is headed by 2019 finalists Zambia, who have been so close to winning the tournament in the past but remain without success, as well as Namibia, Eswatini and another guest nation Uganda, who were an 11th hour entry after the Comoros Islands withdrew late on.
The top teams in each pool advance, as does the best-placed runner-up, so it will be all to play for in what has become a hugely successful and entertaining tournament on the African football calendar.
This year’s competition will take on additional significance as it comes just a month before the start of the qualifiers for the 2022 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations that are scheduled to begin in October, providing competing sides with the chance to fine-tune their plans for their bid to reach the continental showpiece.
That Women’s Cup of Nations will supply the African representatives for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and so in many ways the journey for teams to that global showpiece starts with the COSAFA Women’s Championship.
The competition will be played under strict COVID-19 protocols, which include a bio-secure bubble for all teams and officials involved.
Matches will unfortunately be played behind closed doors, as was the case in 2020, but fans will be able to follow all the action with every game streamed live on www.cosafa.tv.
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