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Cosafa bursts into life

by Staff reporter
26 May 2019 at 13:37hrs | Views
COSAFA president Philip Chiyangwa officially opened this year's edition of the senior men's tournament in Durban, South Africa yesterday with a pledge to continue making the regional tournament a key event for footballing nations in Southern Africa.

Zimbabwe's Warriors who are the defending champions will only enter the competition at the quarter-final stage from June 1.

This year's edition began with the clash between Mauritius and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) yesterday, shortly after Chiyangwa had declared the tournament open.

A brace from the impressive Ashley Nazira saw Mauritius claim a 2-2 draw in their Group A opener against Eswatini at the King Zwelithini Stadium.

Eswatini scored their goals through Siboniso Mamba and the experienced Felix Badenhorst, and had the better of the play, but could not turn their dominance into three points.

But the lead lasted only two minutes as Eswatini made a set-piece count when Mamba headed home from a corner, a simple goal that Mauritius will feel they should have defended better.

Eswatini pressed for the lead before halftime, but the teams went into the break level.

It was more of the same after the break as Kosta Papic's side continued to make all of the running, but were hit by a sucker-punch with 20 minutes to go when Mauritius retook the lead.  Nazira grabbed his second as he turned home a low cross from the right as Eswatini allowed too much space on the flank.

He might have had his hat-trick shortly afterwards, side-footing over the bar with just the goalkeeper to beat.  But once again, the advantage was short-lived as Eswatini drew level again, Badenhorst providing the finish for his seventh career COSAFA Cup goal, and closing in on the all-time record of Zimbabwe legend Peter Ndlovu, who scored eight.

As it is he drew level with Mozambique legend Manuel 'Tico-Tico' Bucuane.

But for Chiyangwa and his leadership the mission remains that of ensuring that the 14-member COSAFA – the biggest regional bloc under the Confederation of African Football –  continues to be the trendsetters in developing the game on the continent.

"We are history makers and we have to continue making history in the development of the game so we have big plans to make every COSAFA competition bigger and better every year,'' Chiyangwa said.

COSAFA are the only bloc under CAF to host tournaments for Under-17, Under-20 and senior men's teams as well as the Women's competition.

There are indications that CAF president Ahmad could also attend some of the games at the tournament which will end on June 8 in Durban.

Chiyangwa was instrumental in propelling Ahmad to power when the Malagasy ended Issa Hayaotou's 28-year reign at CAF.

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Source - sundaynews