Botswana has been confirmed as the host nation for the 2014 Cosafa Cup becoming the fourth country to stage the event since the finals switched to a tournament format in 2007.
The 2014 edition will be held from September 13 to 28, strategically placed in between the first and second rounds of the qualifiers for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco to give coaches maximum time to work with their home-based players.
The Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) this week received confirmation from the country’s Ministry of Sport that the Botswana Football Association (BFA) had approved their application to stage the event.
It builds on the country’s successful hosting of the Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championships in 2010 and 2011 and will provide Botswana with the opportunity to showcase their ability to host a continental championship.
“We are delighted as the Botswana Football Association to have been given an opportunity by Cosafa to host this regional tournament which represents the largest regional constituency of CAF. We are particularly delighted with the support that His Excellency Lt Gen Ian Khama Seretse Khama has given to sports in Botswana, particularly football. We commit to raise the bar in terms of delivery of this tournament,” says BFA President Tebogo Sebego.
Timothy Shongwe, chairman of Cosafa’s Competitions Committee, says they have full faith in Botswana’s ability to deliver a world-class event.
“We are delighted to have Botswana confirmed as the venue for the 2014 Cosafa Cup. Botswana has a proven record of hosting regional championships and the facilities are excellent. Most importantly the 2014 Cosafa Cup has the support of the Botswana Government and in particular President Ian Khama. We look forward to another fantastic tournament that will showcase the developing talent in the Southern African region,” Shongwe says.
The format of the competition will be the same as the successful event staged by Zambia in 2013.
A total of 14 teams, which is likely to include at least one guest nation from elsewhere on the continent, will compete with the eight lowest ranked sides according to the Fifa World rankings at the time playing a round-robin group stage to start.
The top two teams in each pool will advance to the quarterfinals, where they will be met by the six best positioned sides in the World Rankings and the competition will continue in a knockout format with a total of 23 games to be played.
Returning this year will be the popular Plate competition which allows those sides knocked out in the quarterfinal round to benefit from more matches.
Zambia won the 2013 Cosafa Cup on home soil when they beat Zimbabwe in the final, while Mozambique claimed the Plate competition with a win over Angola in the decider of that competition.
The victory for Zambia was their fourth in the Cosafa Cup since the first tournament played in 1997 and they join Zimbabwe as the most successful nations in the competition.
South Africa and Angola are the only other countries to have claimed the title with three wins each.