Mpofu names U20 Cosafa squad
THE Zimbabwe Under-20 head coach Mandla Mpofu will today name a 35-member squad to start preparations for the 2016 PPC sponsored Cosafa Under20 championship to be held in South Africa next month.
The tournament is making a return after being halted in 2013 and will run from December 7-16 at the Mogwase and Moruleng Stadiums in the North West province of South Africa.
“We will be calling up 35 players and expect to go into camp in Harare on November 21 and stay there until our departure for South Africa,” said Mpofu.
Zimbabwe were drawn in Group B with Zambia and Malawi.
Defending champions and hosts South Africa have Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana in Group A, while Group C has Angola, Namibia, Seychelles and Mauritius.
Group D has Mozambique, Comoros Islands and East African guest nation Rwanda, who will be competing in the place of Madagascar.
While Mpofu did not give a hint on who is likely to be called up, Highlanders’ Prince Dube is almost certain to make the side, as he has been a revelation for the Bulawayo giants and also remains odds on favourite to grab the PSL Rookie of the Year award.
Zifa Southern Region Division One champions Bantu Rovers, a model of junior development, should also have a number of players being called up.
The teams will play each other in a round-robin format at the Cosafa tournament, with the top sides from each pool advancing to the semi-finals.
One twist is that the top teams in groups B and D will play a third game as a crossover fixture between those two pools after the second round of matches to ensure that competing sides get to play three times.
The top team in Group B will play the second team in Group D and vice-versa.
The group matches start on December 7 and will be completed on December 13. The semi-finals will take place a day later, before the remaining teams enjoy a rest day. e third-place play-off and final of the competition will both be played on December 16 and two venues, the Mogwase Stadium and Moruleng Stadium will be used for the tournament, with the latter set to exclusively host the semi-finals and final. Zambia have been the most successful side in the history of the Championships with 10 victories to their name, followed by Zimbabwe with six. South Africa have claimed five titles and Madagascar once. In the last edition of the tournament in 2013, Zimbabwe lost 2-4 on penalties to South Africa in the semi-finals.