Durban is ready to host the much anticipated encounter dubbed the Council of Southern Africa Football Association (COSAFA) Cup , starting on 25 May to 08 June. This was announced at a meeting held at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday 15 May.
The tournament will serve as a vital preparation for countries who have qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations and will see 14 countries battling it out at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi and Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu for the group stages with the final taking place at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Countries that will be participating in this spectacular competition includes South Africa, Mauritius, Angola, eSwatini, Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi, Comoros, Seychelles, Lesotho, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Botswana.
The 19th edition of COSAFA Cup promises to be a humdinger with 23 spectacle matches to be played over 14 days and will broadcast in over 14 countries. The matches are expected to be action packed double headers with an opening clash of the Comoros Island and Mauritius at King Zwelithini Stadium on 25 May setting the tone for the tournament and the kick-off is at 2pm. This will be followed by the second encounter between Angola and eSwatini at 4pm.
The KwaMashu’s Princess Magogo Stadium will host the quarter finals where Lesotho will take on Uganda on Saturday, 1 June at 3pm. Subsequent to that will be the current champions Zimbabwe and the winners of Group A encounter at 5:30pm. Sunday, 2 June will see South Africa locking horns with Botswana at 3pm and Zambia slugging it out with the winners of Group B at 5pm.
Mayor of eThekwini Municipality, Zandile Gumede said the city is more than prepared to stage this much anticipated international football event, and is confident the games will unite people from all over the continent as the kick off also coincides with Africa day.
“The municipality is proud of the major strides it has made in sports tourism development in the city. These achievements include the successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations, U19 Durban International Football Tournament and many others. Our officials have been working tirelessly and they have assured us that we are now ready to host the 19th edition of the games. Having hosted a number of world class events with the highest standard of our facilities is no surprise that we were given an opportunity to host COSAFA Cup at such a short notice,” said Gumede.
Gumede added that the city appreciates the huge role that is played by sports not only in unifying of communities, but also in contributing towards our economy.
“It was adeliberate decision that we took the games to the township because we want to see the stadiums filled to capacity. We know the people of eThekwini and KwaZulu-Natal in general to be diehard fans of the beautiful game of football. The tickets are affordable and I want to urge all the people of eThekwini to come out in big numbers to rally behind the tournament,” said Gumede.
The executive member of COSAFA, Timothy Shongwe said that COSAFA was delighted to stage the 2019 COSAFA Cup in the beautiful City of Durban and he thanked the eThekwini Municipality for partnering with COSAFA to host this prestigious event.
“It was an easy decision to come to Durban with the rich sporting heritage of the city, the world class infrastructure and the football mad fans in the KwaZulu-Natal, who always show their passion for big sporting events,” said Shongwe.
Chiyangwa also thanked the South African Football Association for the role they will play in helping COSAFA to stage the 2019 COSAFA Cup, one that will be the biggest and best yet.
“With five COSAFA nations qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, this year’s event has added significance as preparation for those players looking to force their way into their respective coach’s plans for the continental showpiece tournament. We
hope the fans in the KwaZulu-Natal and in Durban will come out and support this crucial event, which does so much for the development of players, coaches, match officials and administrators in our region,” Shongwe added.