Zim ready for CAF Schools Football Championship

17 Nov, 2023 - 00:11 0 Views
Zim ready for CAF Schools Football Championship Budding soccer stars battle it out at the trials to select the Zimbabwe CAF schools team.

Suburban

ZIFA Normalisation Committee chairperson Lincoln Mutasa says the country is ready to welcome teams from the region to Harare for the second edition of the CAF African Schools Football Championship COSAFA Qualifier.

Sports Reporter

“The tournament will take place in Harare from December 14-16, with a slight tweak to the tournament this year as boys and girls’ teams vie to represent the region on the continental stage.

“We are delighted to be back competing on the international scene again,” Mutasa stated.

“We couldn’t ask for a better way to start the new chapter than to host the CAF African Schools Football Championship COSAFA Qualifier, Zimbabwe 2023.

“School-going boys and girls are the bedrock of our vision to create competitive generational teams. We are grateful to CAF and COSAFA for giving us the honour to host the second edition.

“This tournament gives a lot of football stakeholders encouragement that indeed our football is on the right development track.

“The participants will be better footballers after the competition because previously they had no opportunity to play competitive national team games.

“This is a lifetime opportunity for us as a country for our boys and girls who did not participate in the inaugural edition. After this tournament, we are confident that everyone will begin to treasure schools’ football because it has great possibilities for the young boys and girls who previously did not have opportunities to play competitive matches,” he added.

Eleven COSAFA members will send boys and girls sides to compete in the Under-15 competition, where they will hope to earn a place at the continental finals in 2024.

Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, and hosts Zimbabwe will all be represented, and teams this year can be made up of the best players from the national qualifiers, rather than single schools.

If federations choose to go that route, it means they can be represented by the best of their young school’s talent in the country, and will no doubt add to what was an exceptionally high standard in the inaugural year.

COSAFA President Artur de Almeida e Silva said the competition will be a major stepping stone for the boys and girls who dream of playing football professionally.

“This is much more than a school’s competition, it is a first introduction to international football for the vast majority of these players,” he said.

“The U15 age group category is a crucial one and gives these young players a taste of what it takes to challenge their peers in the region.

“We applaud CAF President Dr Patrice Motsepe for his vision in introducing this vital competition and will build on the success of the last competition, where we also were honoured to host the continental finals.

“We wish all the competing teams the best of luck and thank the Zimbabwe Football Association for agreeing to play host this year, and all other stakeholders involved.”

The boys’ competition will be played on full-sized pitches with 11-a-side, while the girls’ tournament is played on half-sized pitches and is 8-a-side.

In both competitions it will be 20 minutes per half, with a 10-minute halftime break.  The draw for both competitions will be made in Harare ahead of the event.

It is a big step up from the inaugural event that was played in Malawi in October 2022.

That competition had five girls’ sides and was won by South African school Edendale Technical. There were six teams in the boys’ competition and Clapham High School from South Africa were victorious there too.

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