MASERU - Lesotho’s capital Maseru will play host to the opening day of the 2013 Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championships today, with three matches lined up to get the regional showpiece underway with a bang.
The tournament makes a return this year after a hiatus in 2012 and it is sure to draw interest from across the world as the top emerging talent in the Southern African region compete for the trophy.
There will be an official opening ceremony at the Setsoto Stadium, which is sandwiched between the matches, before the hosts are in action later in the evening in front of what is sure to be a full house at the country’s top venue.
Group D combatants Botswana and Swaziland will get the action underway with the tournament opener at 12:30.
With Zimbabwe also in this difficult pool, both sides will feel that an opening day victory is a must to give them some momentum going deeper into the competition.
Botswana hosted the last tournament played and finished a credible third in the competition. Swaziland has not won a match at the Cosafa Under-20 Youth Championships since 2004, a record they will be desperate to put right this year.
East African guest nation Kenya will take on Mauritius in the second game of the day at 3pm, a match that comes out of Group A.
Kenya should be among the favourites for the competition, while Mauritius has proven in the past that they can be very competitive at this level. It will be a fascinating contest.
The opening ceremony at 6pm will see dignitaries on hand to meet with players and officials, and mark the official beginning of the 11-day extravaganza.
After that the second match in Group A will see Lesotho host the Comoros at 8pm, looking to get their campaign off to a fast start.
Lesotho have been a powerhouse in the region in Under-20 football in the last few years, reaching the 2011 African Youth Championships, but this is largely a new generation of players.
The top team in each pool will advance to the semifinals on December 12, with the third-place play-off and final two days later where a new champion will be crowned. – SuperSport