The COSAFA 2016 tournament to be held in Namibia has been moved to June .
According to the tournament organisers the change in dates from the month of May are due to the later than usual end to the South African Premier Soccer League, which is home to many key players from a number of nations in the region.
“We have decided to move the dates of the COSAFA Castle Cup 2016 so as to give every competing nation the opportunity to bring their best squads to Namibia,” said the chairman of the organising committee Timothy Shongwe.
“This is the flagship tournament for Southern Africa and we want to make sure we see the very best talent the region has to offer on display,” he said.
The COSAFA Cup plays a crucial role in helping develop the national teams of member associations and Namibia will stage the event for the first time in their history at two venues in the capital Windhoek – the Sam Nujoma Stadium and Independence Stadium.
It follows the country’s successful staging of the 2014 African Women’s Championship and has the full support of the Namibian Government and all stakeholders in the country.
The Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service has already confirmed to the Namibian Football Association (NFA) that they would give the necessary financial guarantees to stage the event.
“The NFA is extremely pleased with the confidence Cosafa has shown by entrusting its flagship competition to our association,” NFA Secretary General Barry Rukoro (ABOVE) said.
“Of course, the success of the recent African Women’s Championship will have played a role in the decision, which goes to show the importance of hosting these major events for the emerging countries and National Associations.
“Hosting this competition will give the growth and development of the game in our country a whole new impetus. We know, as we have seen from the African Women’s Championship recently, that after this tournament next year more than ever before children in Namibia will choose to play football over any other sport. “As a National Association, that is what we want as a “take-away” from the event.”
Rukoro’s words were echoed by NFA President Frans Mbidi, who also thanked the Namibian government for their support.
“We are highly indebted to our National Government, the Government of our young Republic, for the backing they have given the NFA during the bidding, and will give during the hosting, of the Cosafa Cup 2016,” Mbidi said.
“The Minister, together with his Deputy has been extremely supportive towards NFA.
The football family in Namibia and the Cosafa region will be indebted to Government and to the country as we proudly bask in the sunlight of hosting the sub-continent. Furthermore; the Cosafa Cup gives us Namibians an opportunity to share all that is good about us – our democracy, stability, natural beauty, hospitality and a highly tolerant society. So come Cosafa come all,” he said.
Namibia this year became the fifth nation to win the Cosafa Cup since its inception in 1997.
Zimbabwe and Zambia have four wins each, while South Africa and Angola have each won on three occasions.