The Council of Southern Football Associations (COSAFA)has resolved to continue holding the annual regional championship
COSAFA President Suketu Patel has assuranced that the regional Cup tournament will continue despite the withdrawal of South African Breweries as the competition’s main sponsors.
South African Breweries announced its withdrawal in mid-2007 after an 11 years sponsorship.
According to kickoff online, Patel was in South Africa over the weekend in connection with securing sponsorship for this year’s competition.
” There is great interest from companies but I can’t reveal their names at this stage. I am hopeful that within 10 days we will have finalised new sponsorship for the tournament,” he is quoted on the soccer website.
Patel also hinted that there is a possibility of a change of format for this year’s Cosafa tournament and also that the date for the start of the tournament be shifted from May to later this year.
” There are a number of tournaments to be played this year and this can also cause us to change the format and the date of this year’s event,” he added.
When South African Breweries, through its Castle brand, announced its withdrawal from the regional showpiece there was widespread speculation of the imminent death of the tournament which enjoyed enormous popularity around the region.
For the past eleven years, the brewing company paid lucrative prize monies as well as travel and hotel costs for all participating teams on an annual basis. Home associations also filled the coffers as they were allowed to keep the gate takings.
The competition, which started in 1997, pitted the 13 Cosafa members against each other, initially in a knockout tournament spanning most of the calendar.
Later, because of rising costs and more countries taking part, it became a series of mini tournaments.
Namibia finished up as runners up in both 1997 and 1998 but have been less impressive since then, going out at the first round stages.