2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship: Tournament begins on Wednesday

Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa (PANA) - The 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship gets underway at the Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, on Wednesday as the best of Southern, Central and East Africa clash in what promises to be a hugely entertaining 10 days of action.

Cameroon and Uganda will add some spice to the line-up that includes 12 teams, all vying to depose hosts South Africa as champions of the regional competition.

It is arguably the best field ever assembled for the COSAFA competition and a sign not only of the region’s ability to draw top talent, but also the growth of women’s football in Southern Africa.

South Africa have assembled their strongest squad, so too fellow African Women’s Championship qualifiers Zambia and Cameroon, while Zimbabwe are a traditional power in the region too.

That quartet will likely be favourites for the title, but among the remaining eight sides there are many who could rise to the challenge and spring surprises..

“We must commend COSAFA for putting together such a powerful field of 12 teams, this will provide great competition for all the countries,” South Africa coach Desiree Ellis said. “It is going to be very tough to defend our title and we cannot take any team for granted, so we are looking forward to a great competition.

"We will be ready and for us there is the obvious goal as well of preparing for the African Women’s Championship as well.

“We have seen tremendous growth in recent years in this region and I am excited to see how the competition unfolds.”

South Africa open their Group A campaign on Wednesday against Madagascar at the Wolfson Stadium.

“It is important we make a good start to set the tone for the rest of the group play, but we know Madagascar are an enterprising team and we will have to be at our best.”  Before that is the opening clash of the tournament as Botswana take on Malawi in Group A at the same venue at 10h00 (08h00 GMT).

The other match on the opening day sees Group C rivals Swaziland and Uganda clash, also at the Wolfson Stadium. at 13h00 (11h00 GMT).

South Africa claimed the title last year with a 2-1 win over Zimbabwe in the final in Bulawayo.

They have won four of the five previous tournaments played, with their run broken only by Zimbabwe, who claimed the title on home soil in 2011, beating South Africa in the final.
-0- PANA VAO 12Sept2018

12 september 2018 15:01:01

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