Namibia with­draw from COSAFA Un­der-20

Observer on Saturday - - Sport - By Jongile Xuba

Eswa­tini’s Group B op­po­nents Namibia made a late with­drawal from the 2018 MOPANI Cop­per Mines COSAFA Un­der-20 Cham­pi­onships in Kitwe, Zam­bia, cit­ing fi­nan­cial con­straints as the cause.

This was re­vealed by Chair­man of COSAFA’s Com­pe­ti­tions Com­mit­tee Ti­mothy Shongwe on the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s web­site yes­ter­day.

The chair­man said they were dis­ap­pointed by the team’s with­drawal but the com­pe­ti­tion would con­tinue as planned with no changes. “We are ob­vi­ously very dis­ap­pointed fol­low­ing the with­drawal of Namibia, who were likely to bring a strong squad to this cham­pi­onship in Zam­bia. Nev­er­the­less, we still have an ex­cit­ing field and are look­ing for­ward to an­other ex­cel­lent tour­na­ment in Zam­bia filled with en­ter­tain­ing foot­ball,” said the chair­man.

SOCCER - Val­ued

Shongwe went on to thank the or­gan­is­ers and hosts of the tour­na­ment. “We thank our Zam­bian hosts and our val­ued part­ners in MOPANI Cop­per Mines for their con­tin­ued sup­port of Un­der-20 foot­ball in South­ern Africa,” said the chair­man. Worth not­ing is that this is the sec­ond time Namibia has had to with­draw af­ter do­ing so in 2016 fi­nals for the same rea­son.

This means that Eswa­tini’s group at the tour­na­ment will have just three sides which in­clude South Africa and Mau­ri­tius, with each team to play one less fix­ture in their pool.

De­spite Namibia’s with­drawal, the tour­na­ment reg­u­la­tions will re­main the same, mean­ing that only the top team in Group B will ad­vance to the semi-fi­nals.

The win­ners of each pool and the best run­nerup go through to the knock­out phase, but the lat­ter will in all like­li­hood only come from Groups A and C. The re­gional cham­pi­onships kick-off to­mor­row and will run un­til De­cem­ber 14 as 11 teams com­pete for the cov­eted ti­tle.

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