Andrew Cane Chilapondwa
The Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) says the 2021 COSAFA Cup, which is scheduled to kick off on July 6 and end July 18 in Nelson Mandela Bay, will go ahead despite the South African government’s announcement of Level 4 COVID-19 restrictions for 14 days to prevent a rise in infections.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on June 27 announced the placement of the country under Adjusted Alert Level 4 for two weeks due to the worrying increase in the numbers of COVID-19 infections in the country.
However, in his address, Ramaphosa did not mention any restriction on professional sports, a move which has given COSAFA a go ahead to host the tournament in Africa’s mostly Covid-19 hit nation.
In a press statement released on Monday morning, COSAFA alongside the South African Football Association (SAFA) said a bio-secure environment has been created for the teams, officials and organizers for the tournament to go ahead.
“The Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) can confirm that the 2021 COSAFA Cup to be staged in Nelson Mandela Bay from July 6-18 will go ahead as scheduled.”
“South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday that the county would move to adjusted Level 4 restrictions to combat a rise in COVID-19 infections that are largely contained in the Gauteng province.
“But the updated Government Gazette clearly states that professional sports events around the country may continue, as long as the appropriate precautions are put in place. COSAFA, along with the South African Football Association, have created a bio-secure environment for the teams, officials and organizers of the COSAFA Cup in Nelson Mandela Bay, replicating the successful bubble for the four tournaments staged in the Eastern Cape at the end of 2020,” reads part of the statement signed by COSAFA General Secretary Sue Destombes.
Malawi will take part in the competition and will open their campaign on 7th July against Madagascar before playing Comoros Island on 10th July.
The Flames will conclude their Group B matches with a match against Zambia on 13th July, 2021.
Currently, the team is in camp preparing for the competition.The Flames are one of the few countries to have never won the cup despite reaching back-to-back finals between 2002 and 2003 in which they lost to South Africa and Zimbabwe respectively. – Malawi24