Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) will hold both women’s senior and Under-20 tournaments simultaneously, from July 31 to August 11 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
The Under-20 tournament will be the first ever while the women’s senior was inaugurated in 2002.
Cosafa deputy chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda, who is responsible for competitions, said they decided to hold the two competitions at the same time to give the younger girls an opportunity to see what goes into competing at senior international level.
The two competitions are also part of South Africa’s commemoration of women’s month in August.
Nyirenda, a Malawian, also said the Cosafa member associations were already notified of the decision in January this year.
“All the associations were told about this arrangement so that they can prepare for the two tournaments,” he said.
Asked if this will not be a financial burden for member associations considering that they have to budget for two teams of 25 members each, Nyirenda said the members can use Fifa funds for the costs.
“It can be viewed as a burden, but Fifa is now pumping more financial resources to all national associations for the development of women football. Associations can also access funds for travelling to tournaments from Fifa.
“The world football governing body has also pumped funds towards the women football competitions in all the zones in Africa and Cosafa as the biggest zone is the first to have senior women’s, under-20 and under-17 girls tournaments in a year,” he said.
So far, Botswana, e-Swatini (formerly Swaziland), Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe have confirmed their participation.
Out of the eight participating teams in the senior tournament, only Malawi is yet to confirm if it will send the Under-20 debut tournament.
National Women Football Association (NWFA) chairperson Suzgo Ngwira said a decision is yet to be made on the matter.
“As of now, we can confirm that the senior team will participate in the Cosafa Championship. We are still in discussions with other stakeholders on whether to send the Under-20 or the under-17 in September,” he said.
The women senior national football team, who will use the tournament to prepare for CAF 2020 Olympic Games qualifier against Kenya, is also expected to register for Africa Cup of Nations.