The Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) has announced that the next edition of the COSAFA U-17 will be held once again in Malawi.
COSAFA president Phillip Chiyangwa made the announcement soon after the final of this year’s tournament at Mpira Stadium in Blantyre. Zambia’s young Chipolopolo were crowned champions after beating Mozambique 2-0. Malawi were booted out of the competition in the group stages.
Chiyangwa hailed Malawi for hosting the tournament and could not hide his association’s desire for a status quo. “You [Malawi] have been great throughout the tournament. You have been professional and this cannot go unnoticed,” he said.
On his part, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president, Walter Nyamilandu, said the decision to host again another tournament next year shows the trust COSAFA has with Malawi.
“We worked round the clock to have a successful tournament considering that we last hosted it in 2001. This shows that we are capable to hold even a senior COSAFA tournament. We have the two stadiums in Blantyre and come next year, this tournament will go to Lilongwe,” he said.
However, some analysts have advised FAM to start Under-17 national team preparations in advance. Lilongwe-based George Chiusiwa told YFM Online that the way FAM conducted the process of identifying the young players this year, left a lot to be desired.
“The call to have all players who feel can play for the junior national football team to assemble at designated points for identification raised eyebrows to some of us. Youth football has structures and players have to be identified through these structures not otherwise,” Chiusiwa said.