Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The great Cosafa tournament begins with a bang

Top players in the world, some from the north and west Africa, play about 38 league matches, 12 European championship matches and 8 cup matches - 58 top class matches against the toughest possible opposition in a season.

Additionally, some seasons may include 12 World Cup or 12 continental qualifiers, 4 Club World Cups, 5 Confederations Cups (17) - a total of 75 topnotch matches. 

Some Africa football leagues play 30 matches, and no cup tournaments, or at best, 4 extra matches to reach a final if lucky. And the opposition, the training, the pitches and matches are not that mind-blowing.

Can our best be world beaters, or we are wasting our time?

The Council Of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) Castle Cup, celebrating 20 years of existence, began this week in the North West. Zimbabwe, former multiple tournament winners, started the regional showcase with a bang, actually, four bangs past Mozambique. 

Madagascar also beat Seychelles to secure a first win, all at the Moruleng Stadium managed by Brown Mapologela.

Angola and Tanzania also won their opening fixtures in the preliminary round, beating Mauritius and Malawi respectively. It must be noted that the quarter-finals from Saturday will involve countries winning their respective groups.

South Africa, Lesotho. Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Botswana are the region's top ranked teams and do not play preliminary rounds. Tanzania are a guest team, normally playing in the Council of East and Central African Football Associations (Cecafa) tournament.

It is important for all fans, coaches, players and the national associations to to take Cosafa, Cecafa and CHAN - the domestic version of AFCON, very seriously. Due to lack of sustainable sponsorship in the domestic leagues in Africa, especially, East and Southern Africa, extra high quality game time is irreplaceable.

Cosafa, Cecafa and CHAN presents regional players with an extra playing time opportunity and a small window to make extra cash and market oneself. National associations need to invest more time and other resources to ensure survival of the project.

Everything must be done to encourage players, inspire coaches, educate administrators and equip associations through the organisation of the tournaments.

A good thing is that there is now also an Under 20 Cosafa tournament and many nations must be encouraged to use age proper youths. 

I have always advocated for the Cosafa Champions League. Do you agree?