Hosts Malawi have been drawn against regional heavyweights South Africa, Botswana and Zambia in Group A of 2019 Cosafa Under-17 Youth Championship set to take place in the commercial city Blantyre from October 11 to 20.
The draw held on Wednesday at Council for Southern Region Football Associations (Cosafa) headquarters in Johannesburg, has pitted defending champions Angola against Lesotho, Mozambique and Comoros in Group B.
Malawi Under-17 national team coach DeKlerk Msakakuona, who witnessed the draw, described Malawi’s pool as tricky.
“It’s a tough one. But as hosts we need to rise above this and ensure that we make it to the semi-finals and final to win the championship,” he said.
Winners and runners-up from the two groups will qualify for the semis.
Last year, Malawi failed to reach the semi-finals as best losers after being ousted by Angola on goal difference after tying on six points.
Initially, the competition was supposed to kick off next month, but Cosafa has pushed back the dates following changes in dates for women’s edition of the Under-17 competition to be held in Mauritius.
Meanwhile, government has finally guaranteed the hosting of the tournament.
Both Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Cosafa confirmed the development Wednesday.
“The signed guarantee was sent to Cosafa yesterday. Government already assured us of hosting the event that we should host the event so it was just a matter for them signing the documents,” said FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda.
Cosafa deputy chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda, who is also responsible for managing the regional body’s competitions, said they signed guarantee means Malawi is now officially the host of the tournament.” he said.