By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
Bulawayo City coach Bekithemba Ndlovu is still in charge of the national Under-20 team and will lead their campaign at this year’s Cosafa Championship in Kitwe, Zambia, from December 2-14.
Zifa vice-president Omega Sibanda said the former Highlanders’ skipper will be deputised by Harare City’s assistant coach Mark Mathe.
“Our technical team for the Under-20 is still the same. Ndlovu will lead our Under-20 for the forthcoming Cosafa Championship with Mathe deputising him,” said Sibanda.
The Young Warriors were booted out of last year’s tournament by virtue of an inferior goal difference to Group C winners Lesotho, despite not conceding a goal in their three group games.
Zimbabwe drew 0-0 with Lesotho and Namibia, and beat Angola 1-0 to take their points tally to five, the same as Lesotho, who, however, scored one more goal than Ndlovu’s charges.
He is yet to name his provisional squad, but some players likely to make the trip include Highlanders’ Andrew Mbeba as well as Herentals’ Tinotendaishe Benza.
Hosts Zambia, defending champions South Africa and last year’s runners-up Lesotho have been named as the three seeded sides for today’s pool stage draw.
The three seeded sides will head the pools, with Zambia claiming position A1 in Group A, South Africa to take B1 in Group B and Lesotho penned in for C21 in Group C.
The remaining nine sides will be placed in two pots based on their ranking according to performance at the 2017 Cosafa Under-20 Championships that were also held in Kitwe.
Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Swaziland will be placed in Pot 1, with Mozambique, Mauritius, Angola, Botswana and newcomers Reunion in Pot 2.
Three teams will be drawn from Pot 1 to fill up the second positions in Groups A-C before another three nations are drawn from Pot 2 to fill up the third positions in those pools.
The remaining three balls (one of from Pot 2 and two from Pot 2) are then placed together in a single pot, with the teams to take up the fourth and final positions in each group then drawn.
That will leave each group with four nations, while only the top team in each pool and the best-placed runner-up will advance to the semi-finals.
The winner of Group B will take on the best-placed runner-up in the semi-finals, while the top two sides in Groups A and C will face-off in the knockout stage. The Chronicle