COSAFA U/20 Championship history

baby warriors finish third.jpg

With the 2016 Under-20 Championship draw to take place on 26 October in Moruleng, South Africa, and to be contested from 7-16 December in South Africa, we take a look at the championship's history of 33 years.

South Africa are the defending champions after they defeated another East African guest nation, Kenya, 2-0 in the final of the previous staging of the tournament in 2013, which was played in Lesotho.

From a South African perspective, the likes of Itumeleng Khune, Lerato Chabangu, Daine Klate, Elrio van Heerden and Lebohang Mokoena have all represented their country at this level and gone on to forge successful club and international careers.

Other young stars such as Clifford Mulenga and Isaac Chansa (both Zambia), Tinashe Nengomasha and Onismor Bhasera (both Zimbabwe), as well as Jimmy Zakazaka (Malawi), have used the tournament to persuade PSL clubs that they have a bright future in the game.

The tournament was first played in 1983, but was a little-recognised get-together of a few of the stalwarts of the region, including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana.

The Apartheid practices of South Africa at the time meant they were excluded, and only entered the fray for the first time in 1993. Those early years were dominated by the ‘Two Zs’, with Zambia winning six and Zimbabwe three of the first nine tournaments held.

South Africa were the first team to break the mould when they triumphed in 2000, having been losing finalists in 1995 and 1999. A year earlier, in 1999, they had taken over the hosting of the event, which before then had been spread around the region. Each tournament up until 2009 was held in the Rainbow Nation, but the winners were less easy to predict.

Madagascar became only the fourth country to win the event when they surprisingly triumphed in 2005, beating shock finalists Lesotho 1-0 in the final. Before Lesotho three years ago, the previous two instalments, in 2010 and 2011, were hosted by Botswana, with Zambia extending their winning streak to three with success in both.

But more than lifting the trophy, the tournament is about developing the talent of tomorrow and giving young players the chance to compete with their peers in a highly-competitive environment that should help to prepare them for the challenges of future international football.

PREVIOUS WINNERS
1983 Zambia
1985 Zimbabwe
1986 Zambia
1988 Zimbabwe
1990 Zimbabwe
1993 Zambia
1995 Zambia
1997 Zambia
1999 Zambia
2000 South Africa
2001 Zimbabwe
2002 Zimbabwe
2003 Zambia
2004 South Africa
2005 Madagascar
2006 South Africa
2007 Zimbabwe
2008 South Africa
2009 Zambia
2010 Zambia
2011 Zambia
2013 South Africa

MOST WINS
10 – Zambia
6 – Zimbabwe
5 – South Africa
1 – Madagascar