South Africa has been drawn in Group A with near neighbours Swaziland, Lesotho, and Botswana for the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Youth Championship.

Fourteen under-20 national teams which are members of of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA), which will take place the tournament to be held in December in Rustenburg in North West Province.

South Africa will be defending its title after winning in Namibia in 2013.

The teams have been divided into four for the draw which was held here Wednesday. The draw has been described as tough for South Africa.

“Group A is a tough draw as we have Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland. These are countries that have improved their football and it’s not going to be easy. We need to get as much information as we can about them, everything, video clips, so that we give our players all the needed information with regards to the opponents’ strengths and weaknesses,” said under-20 coach Thabo Senong.

COSAFA says it aims to breed raw talent for young soccer players across the southern African sub-region. “We are hoping that all of our partners achieve their objectives. From a point of view that Cosafa, our objective is to develop football in the region and to unearth that talent which is abounding in our region of 14 countries,” COSAFA Secretary-General Sue Destombes said.

Young and upcoming football players say COSAFA tournaments bring big opportunities for them.

The 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Youth Championship will run from Dec 7 to 16 and countries will also use the tournament to prepare for African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament to be held in February 2017 in Zambia.


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