Down Memory Lane – The COSAFA Cup

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar June 5, 2018 13:23

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Down Memory Lane – The COSAFA Cup

By Satish Sekar in Polokwane © Satish Sekar May 27th 2018

The Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) was established in 1997 Cup. The 18th edition of the COSAFA Cup begins this afternoon in Polokwane at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium. Strangely it is being hosted by the same nation as last year’s edition – South Africa. Group A favourites Mozambique take on Madagascar in the opening match. Current COSAFA Cup holders Zimbabwe arrive for the quarter-finals as do Lesotho, Swaziland, hosts South Africa and beaten finalists Zambia.

The Chipolopolo won the first two editions in 1997 and 1998 when it was a league format. In the first tournament, they had to qualify, and the most successful team in the competition, Zimbabwe with 5 titles, went out in the qualification 1-2 after extra time – all the goals were penalties. They were runner-up to Zambia in 1998.the following year Zambia failed to win for the first time, losing to eventual winners Angola in the semi-final. Angola claimed their first title, beating Namibia over two legs.

Zimbabwe won their first title in 2000 beating Lesotho 3-0 in both legs, but could not retain their title the following year, losing 1-0 to Angola on aggregate. South Africa beat Malawi 4-1 over two legs, winning the second 1-0 at home. Zimbabwe won their second title by the same score against Malawi again in 2003. In 2004 Zambia advanced to the final 5-4 on penalties, only to lose by the same score to Angola. That was Zambia’s first loss in a final. It was quickly followed by a second as the Chipolopolo lost 0-1 to Zimbabwe.

In 2006 the 13 entrants were split into three groups – the winners and defending champions Zimbabwe making up the semi-finals. Zambia beat Angola 2-0 in the final. A year later Zambia failed to retain their title at the last hurdle, losing 3-4 to South Africa on penalties after a 0-0 draw. South Africa went one better than Zambia had the following year by beating Mozambique 2-1. In 2009 Zambia lost again, this time 1-3 to Zimbabwe.

The following year the tournament was scheduled to take place in Angola, but was cancelled. COSAFA blamed Angola for not giving them the necessary assurances that the agreed conditions had been met. Angola had hosted the Africa Cup of nations earlier that year, but the cancellation of COSAFA’s flagship competition which was not a FIFA authorised competition – it still isn’t – had an effect. The next COSAFA Cup did not take place until 2013 in Zambia. The hosts beat defending champions Zimbabwe 2-0.

The 15th edition took place in South Africa two years later. It included invitees, Ghana and Tanzania. Defending champions Zambia were eliminated 4-5 on penalties by Namibia in the quarter-finals. The final guaranteed a winner for the first time. Mozambique lost again to Namibia – their first and so far only triumph. Namibia hosted in 2016, but South Africa beat Botswana 3-2 for their fourth title, equalling the record of Zambia and Zimbabwe – DR Congo attended as an invitee. Last year the COSAFA Cup was held in South Africa – Moruleng and Phokeng to be precise. Zimbabwe beat Zambia 3-1.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar June 5, 2018 13:23