Cosafu Cup to be staged in Nelson Mandela Bay

The Cosafa Cup, to be staged in Nelson Mandela Bay, will be held from July 6 to 18.

Eswatini and Lesotho will kick-off the tournament at the magnificent Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium before hosts South Africa meet Botswana at the same venue later in the day.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, all matches will be played without fans and behind closed doors. The limit on the number of people that can be on-site at the venues means there will be no media present either.

“We are in the third wave, so it means our protocols must be strictly adhered to,” said Safa chief medical officer Dr Thulani Ngwenya.

“Everyone coming into the bio-secure environment will have to produce a negative Covid-19 certificate. That includes players, team officials, Cosafa staff and all volunteers.

“At the end of the group stages, everyone who remains will have to have a second round of tests. There will be four rounds of testing in all.

“We cannot exceed 100 people at the venues, which includes the teams, broadcasters, medical personal and everybody involved on match day.

“We will make sure everyone is adhering to the protocols. People showing symptoms of Covid-19 will be isolated and be tested. The isolation period is 10 days, and after that they can be tested again to come back into the bio-secure environment.”

Defending champions Zambia will take their bow at this historic 20th edition of the cup on July 7 when they play Comoros Islands at the Isaac Wolfson Stadium. Malawi and Madagascar will meet at the same venue.

Six-time winners Zimbabwe are in action on July 8 against Mozambique at the same venue and west African guest nation Senegal enters the fray as well when they debut against Namibia.

The group stages will be completed on July 14, with the semi-finals for the three group winners and best-placed runner-up to be played two days later at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The winner of Group A, which includes South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Eswatini, will take on the best runner-up in the semis, with the victors in Groups B (Zambia, Malawi, Comoros, Madagascar) up against the winners of Group C (Senegal, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique).

The losing semi-finalists will be involved in the bronze-medal match on July 18, with the final to be staged later in the day.

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