The Council of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA) have confirmed that it has cancelled its senior men’s tournament for 2020.
COSAFA still expressed the hope of hosting four other tournaments this year.
“Cosafa remains optimistic of hosting four of its six scheduled tournaments in 2020, a year that has seen the football calendar severely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The organization has been working round the clock in preparation for the events scheduled for this year but remains reliant on the go-ahead from governments across the region.
“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes during the Covid-19 pandemic to try and realise our goals of hosting these events to continue our mandate of developing Southern African football on and off the pitch,” Cosafa general secretary Sue Destombes says.
“But we are completely reliant on conditions being favourable and obviously that is out of our control. What we can promise is that health and safety protocols will be in place, as well as utilising practices from the experiences of the South African Football Association, who successfully completed their 2019-20 league season.”
There have been encouraging signs in recent weeks as the South African government has re-opened the countries borders to African countries and also confirmed the restart of international sporting events.
The COSAFA Women’s Championship in South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Bay is now scheduled for November 3-14 with South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Comoros, Angola and Malawi already confirmed to take part in the competition, while Eswatini and Namibia are waiting for their governments approval to travel.
Mauritius remain a doubt to participate in the competition. Madagascar, Seychelles and Mozambique have declined, Lesotho are yet to commit to taking part, while Kenya have requested a guest place in the tournament.
The COSAFA Women’s U17 Championship is also scheduled to be held at the Nelson Mandela Bay at the same time as the senior tournament, but in a reduced format with four to six teams participating.
Therefore, both zonal qualifiers that provide Southern Africa’s entrants into the continental finals of the U17 and U20 Confederation of African Football (CAF) competitions to be played next year.
The host city for the COSAFA Men’s U17 Championship is yet to be determined, but the competition is set to be played in South Africa from November 19-29. The two finalists of the competition will qualify for the continental finals in Morocco on July 2021.
The men’s U20 Championship will be hosted now by South Africa from December 3-13 after Mauritius withdrew from hosting the tournament due to the current coronavirus regulations.
Twelve nations have confirmed their participation, though Seychelles and Madagascar, who will not take part in any Cosafa events in 2020, have declined the invitation. Mauritius have also yet to confirm if they will take part.