Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) has asked the South African government, through the Department of Sports and the South Africa Football Association (Safa), to consider approving the hosting of the Cosafa Cup.
The request follows an announcement on Friday by that country’s Minister of Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma that international sporting events are still not allowed in the Rainbow Nation as a preventive measure against the spread of Covid-19.
Cosafa has earmarked the regional showpiece for October 2 to 17 in Durban.
Cosafa’s deputy chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda, a Malawian, yesterday said: “The matter has been taken to the Department of Sports [through Safa] to consider approving the tournament and we are keeping our fingers crossed that it will be approved.
“We are expecting to get the feedback by next week.”
The former Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary also said their optimism stems from the fact that South Africa’s Bafana Bafana will also have to play in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations’ (Afcon) qualifiers in November “and, therefore, Safa will also have to approach the authorities on this matter.
Besides the Covid-19 restrictions, there have also been doubts about the competition as some teams such as South Africa and Zambia have arranged international friendly matches in between the tournament’s dates.
The Football Association of Zambia has lined up two international friendly matches for Chipolopolo against South Africa and Kenya on October 11 and 13, respectively, as part of preparations for the Afcon qualifiers.
Mozambique’s Mambas are also planning to camp in Lisbon, Portugal from September 30 to October 16 though they will only be joined by their overseas contingent from October 5 and have scheduled matches against Guinea-Bissau (October 8) and Angola (October 13).
However, Nyirenda played down the friendlies, saying: “Remember that some teams such as Zambia, South Africa and Botswana will be seeded. They will only appear in the quarter-finals on later dates which will be after their scheduled friendly matches.”
FAM competitions and communication director Gomezgani Zakazaka said during a press conference on Saturday that the association will confirm Flames’ participation in the regional tournament later this week.
“We are told borders in South Africa will open on October 1 and we are aware that most countries in Europe also have their borders open, so that should not be a problem,” he said.
However, not to be caught off-guard, FAM says it will organise two friendly matches in case the Cosafa tournament is postponed.