The tournament will run from July 6th to 18th and will kick off Eswatini and Lesotho in Nelson Mandela Bay
The tournament organizers have claimed that the 2021 Cosafa Cup will take place as planned despite the stricter Covid-19 lockdown regulations in South Africa.
According to Cosafa Secretary General Sue Destombes, the tournament will be held in Nelson Mandela Bay from July 6-18, as planned.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed on Sunday that level 4 restrictions are back in effect to curb the rise in the number of Covid-19 infections, particularly in Gauteng.
Despite the statement, Destombes has stated that Cosafa and Safa have put in place strict measures that must be followed during the competition and continue to assure the teams of their safety.
“Although it is necessary to take stricter measures in dealing with the latest statistics, the President of South Africa said in his address to the nation on the 27th Destombes, as quoted by the Cosafa website.
“Inter-provincial travel restrictions do not apply to transit through Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, and travel for business purposes is permitted.
“Cosafa has already implemented strict Covid-19 protocols to ensure the safety of all role-players, including operating in a bio-bubble and playing games behind closed doors.
“Cosafa, host of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and South African government agencies have extensive experience running events amid the lockdown after hosting four competitions in Nelson Mandela Bay in 2020 and continuing professional national football and international matches.”
Zambia will begin their title defense against the Comoros on July 7th at Isaac Wolfson Stadium, but this is after Eswatini and Lesotho opened the tournament on July 6th at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, before hosts South Africa later meet Botswana in the same location Day.
Six-time winners Zimbabwe will face Mozambique in the same place on July 8, while the West African host state Senegal will also play in their debut against Namibia.
The group stage will end on July 14th with the semi-finals, in which the three group winners and the top-ranked runner-up will be played two days later at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The winner of Group A, which includes South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Eswatini, meets the best runner-up in the semi-finals, with the winners of Group B (Zambia, Malawi, Comoros, Madagascar) against the winners of Group C (Senegal, Zimbabwe , Namibia, Mozambique).