The 2023 Hollywoodbets Senior Men’s COSAFA Cup Tournament kicked off at King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban on Wednesday with a Group A clash between Eswatini (Sihlangu Semnikati) and Botswana (the Zebras) ending in a 1-0 victory for the Zebras, and South Africa (Bafana Bafana) came back from behind to settle for a 1-1 draw with old foe Namibia (Brave Warriors).
All matches are broadcast live on both SuperSport and SABC providing excellent media exposure for sponsors.
COSAFA is CAF’s (Confederation of African Football) biggest and most active zone with 14 Member Associations and organising up to nine back-to-back tournaments within 6 months during the second half of the year.
The 14 member countries taking part in the 2023 tournament are Angola, Botswana, Comores, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia. (Zimbabwe are not participating this year).
Some of the players that came through COSAFA have gone on to play for Europe and MLS, Including Ernest Mtawali (Toulouse FC and Newell Old Boys FC) Phil Masinga (Bari FC) Benni McCarthy (FC Porto and Blackburn FC) Peter Ndlovu (Coventry City FC) Fabrice Akwa (Benfica FC) Lyle Foster (Burnley FC), and Enock Mwepu (formerly with Brighton).
The current COSAFA CUP champions Zambia “the Chipolopolo” will be again participating and looking to defend their crown. The Chipolopolo get their campaign under way with a titanic tussle when they take on Malawi (the Flames) on 6 July kicking off at 18h00.
Other key matches to look out for is when the Mozambique “Mambas” take on Angola (the Black Antelopes) on 7 July kicking off at 18h00. This will definitely be a mouth-watering clash!
The final rounds of fixtures in Groups A and B will be played on July 11, with both the King Zwelithini Stadium and Princess Magogo Stadiums in use, with the pool stages to be completed the following day with the final round in Group C.
The Semi-Finals will be staged on July 14 as the winner of Group B takes on the top side in Group C, while the winner of Group A meets the best placed runner-up from across the three pools.
The tournament provides strong platforms for sponsors to leverage, activate and associate with the highly sought after football market.
Current form predictions are that South Africa should top Group A, Zambia Group B and Angola Group C and most likely Malawi should make it as the best runner up across all groups.
The third-place play-off is on July 16 at 15h00, with the final on the same day at the King Zwelithini Stadium at 18h00.
My money is on Zambia to defend their COSAFA Cup title.