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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Field set for 2014 Cosafa Cup

The field for the 2014 Cosafa Cup is set and it will have a West African flavor with continental giants Ghana taking part for the first time. The Black Stars, who will be competing at the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil, will join 13 other countries for the two-week regional showpiece to be hosted by Botswana in September.

Dancing to the Cosafa beat...
Ghana's Black Stars
Ghana have taken the place of Comoros Islands, who have opted not to compete in this year’s championship, and will be aiming to become the first non-Southern African side to lift the trophy in the tournament’s 17-year history. 

The news represents a boost for the Cosafa Cup with the four-time African champions sure to enhance the tournament’s profile and quality.

“We are delighted to have Ghana competing in Botswana and it is another sign of the high regard the rest of Africa places in the Cosafa Cup competition,” Timothy Shongwe, chairman of Cosafa’s organising committee, said.

“Players from Ghana are coveted by top European clubs and there is a good chance that we will see future superstars of the national team in Botswana later this year. It will be a huge test for our Southern African sides to take on the Black Stars, but that is just the type of competition we are looking for to help develop the game in the region.” 

The format of the 2014 competition will be the same as in Zambia last year where two first-round groups will be contested with the winners advancing to the quarterfinals. Lesotho, ranked 139th in the world, is likely to be one of the six nations drawn to the group stage.

Ghana will likely receive a bye into the quarterfinals along with the five other best ranked teams according to the Fifa World Rankings when the draw for the tournament is made.

Definding Champions... Zambia
There will also be a Plate competition for teams knocked out in the quarterfinals to give all teams the opportunity to play multiple matches. 

Zambia are the defending champions after beating Zimbabwe in the final last year. That was Chipolopolo’s fourth title which moved them to joint most with Zimbabwe. The only other winners in the tournament’s history are South Africa and Angola with three titles each.

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