PPC bankrolls Cosafa Under-20

HARARE - Cement manufacturer PPC will this year bankroll the Cosafa Under-20 football tournament as it marks a return after a three-year sabbatical.

The tournament was last held in 2013 when South Africa claimed the title with a 2-0 victory over Kenya in the final.

This year’s tournament will see 14 countries taking part, with Rwanda coming in as a guest nation to replace Cosafa side Madagascar, who have declined to participate.

The pool phase of the competition will feature four groups — two of which will have four teams, and two with three sides. The draw for these pools will be made next week on Wednesday in South Africa.

Teams have been seeded based on their performances at the 2013 Cosafa Under-20 Championships played in Lesotho.

South Africa have been handed position A1 in Group A as hosts, while Angola will be in position C1 in Group C.

The other top seeds, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, will be drawn into either B1 or D1, the two pools that have three teams each.

Pot 1 will contain the next highest-ranked five sides — Namibia, Lesotho, Comoros, Botswana and Zambia — while Pot 2 has Rwanda, Malawi, Swaziland, Mauritius and Seychelles.

The first four teams drawn from Pot 1 will take up the second positions in Groups A-D, while the first four teams from Pot 2 will take up the third positions in the pools.

That will leave two teams remaining in the pots and these will be randomly drawn into Groups A and C, the two pools that have four teams.

The teams will play each other in a round-robin format with the top side from each pool advancing to the semi-finals.

The top two teams in Groups B and D after the second round of matches will play a third match as a crossover game between those two pools, to ensure that most competing sides gets to play three times.

The top team in Group B will play the second team in Group D and vice-versa.

The tournament runs from December 7 until December 16. The matches will be played at two venues, the Mogwase Stadium and Moruleng Stadium, with the latter being used exclusively from the semi-finals onwards.

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