12 countries confirm Cosafa participation


Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
TWELVE countries have confirmed their participation in the Cosafa Women’s Cup to be held in Bulawayo next month.

One guest nation, whose identity will be made known in due course, is among the confirmed 12 countries.

The tournament is making a return since it was last staged in 2011 when Zimbabwe hosted and won it in Harare by beating South Africa 1-0 in the final.

The women’s competition roars into life on September 13 at Bulawayo’s three stadia, Barbourfields, Luveve and White City.

In a brief interview with Cosafa chief operations officer Sue Destombe at Luveve Stadium on Wednesday after the league match between Chicken Inn and Triangle United, the tournament has been expanded from the traditional eight countries.

“It was going to be eight teams, but it has now been extended to 12 because of the interest shown by neighbouring member associations within the region.

Of the 12 that have confirmed, one is from outside the region, but I am not going to tell you who it is; it’s a surprise,” said Destombe.

She was accompanied by Fifa referees’ instructor Felix Tangawarima, Cosafa Women’s Championships local organising committee (Loc) chairman and Zifa vice-president Omega Sibanda and Loc general manager Piraishe Mabhena.

Destombe said she was in Bulawayo for two days to inspect the readiness of accommodation facilities and match venues for the tournament.

“Tomorrow (yesterday) we start our inspection of match venues and training facilities in preparation for the tournament. Over the next two days we will inspect the venues, including accommodation facilities, and by Saturday we will have a clear picture,” she said.

She refuted claims that a participation figure of $10 000 per country had been endorsed, but said costing issues would be finalised after the inspection tours.

“There are naturally going to be more costs involved because of the extended numbers to 12, but it’s not factual that teams have to pay $10 000 in participation fees each. After we have finished the inspection and done the costing, it will then be made known to the teams,” said Destombe.

Zifa has begun the hunt for volunteers to take up posts in various portfolios before and during the tournament, with the national association emphasising the need for Bulawayo residents or its surroundings with own accommodation to come forward. — @skhumoyo2000.

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