COSAFA president Philip Chiyangwa says Malawi have the potential to host the region’s senior tournaments after the country successfully staged the regional Under-17 tournament.
Zambia won the tournament, which attracted capacity crowds at the Mpira Stadium, in the Chiwembe area of Blantyre, which was refurbished, using FIFA funds, to become a modern 10 000-seater ground.
The Zambians beat Mozambique 2-0 in the final last weekend.
Zimbabwe did not field a team in the tournament after ZIFA opted out of the tourney.
“The COSAFA president, Dr Philip Chiyangwa, has congratulated Malawi for hosting a successful COSAFA Under-17 tournament,’’ Football Association of Malawi president Walter Nyamilandu said on his social media handles.
“He said the organisation was top-notch while patronage was impressive as Mpira Stadium was packed to the rafters.
“As reward for a job well done, the COSAFA president has extended an invitation towards Malawi to host the COSAFA Under-20 next year.
“Not only that, but we might even host the COSAFA senior tournament in 2021. Congratulations to Zambia for emerging as champions.
“I am optimistic Malawi will win the next one.’’
The huge crowds at the tournament caught the eye and the Zambians, who handed their South African counterparts a seven-goal mauling in a group game, were the deserved winners.
Zambian Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development Emmanuel Mulenga congratulated the team for their success story in Malawi saying it spoke volumes about the bright future of the game in that country.
“I am happy to meet you this morning on a happy note, as I join His Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu in congratulating the Under- 17 national football team for winning the 2019 COSAFA Youth Cup held in Blantyre, Malawi,’’ he said when he met the triumphant team at Government House in Lusaka.
“In the same token, I also wish to congratulate the senior national football team for qualifying to the 2020 CHAN tournament to be held in Cameroon.
“It is my hope that the senior team will also qualify for the 2021 AFCON and the 2022 World Cup. I have no doubt in my mind that the teams we have, as well as the Football Association of Zambia executive, are equal to the task.
“I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm government’s commitment to supporting football and all other sports disciplines in our country.
“Football is a sport that unifies the nation and in this regard we cannot afford to have our football standards declining. It is for this reason that we hear the nation cry when we do not get positive results.
“Therefore, I encourage all stakeholders starting from the FAZ executive, the technical bench and players to put in your very best so that we can continue getting positive results. Our hope for the future of Zambian football lies in you.’’
The Zambians won the Player of the Match at every game they played in Malawi, scooped the Player of the Tournament as well as the Goalkeeper of the Tournament awards. The Herald