Bafana Bafana will play their first match of the COSAFA Cup against Botswana at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu on June 2 after organisers of the tournament reaffirmed their readiness for the competition to be hosted by Durban.
The full list of fixtures and ticket pricing for the competition was also revealed, with fans needing to fork out just R40 to watch some of southern Africa’s finest talent.
Speaking at the Moses Mabhida Stadium earlier on Thursday, COSAFA executive member Timothy Gumede says everything is on track for the regional tournament. The May 25 to June 8 competition will see two groups of four played out with the top team in each reaching the quarter-finals where the big guns await.
Apart from Bafana, fellow Africa Cup of Nations finalists Zimbabwe and guest team Uganda will also join in at the last eight stage.
Shongwe says that he is expecting strong squads from the three nations to feature in the COSAFA Cup, adding that it is a great opportunity to fine tune ahead of AFCON, which takes place in Egypt from June 21 to July 19.
The tournament will open with Comoros against Mauritius followed by Africa Cup of Nations finalists Angola versus Eswatini at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi on day one.
All four of those teams make up Group A.
Group B will kick-off at the same venue the day after as Mozambique will take on another AFCON finalist in Namibia, followed by Malawi against the Seychelles, also in Umlazi, which will host 10 games in total.
KwaMashu, meanwhile, will stage all the quarter-finals and two group matches, with the action then moving to Moses Mabhida. eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede believes the city will make plenty of financial gains by hosting the COSAFA Cup.
With the ticket prices also announced, there are fears by some that R40 may be too much to ask fans to fork out, especially during the early part of the competition.
But mayor Gumede is confident that the marketing team for the tournament will do enough to draw crowds to the stadiums. – Report by Thahir Asmal
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