|The COSAFA U20 Championship is back!|
PPC, the leading supplier of cement in Southern Africa, has been announced as the sponsor of the 2016 COSAFA Under-20 Youth Championship.
The championship, which was postponed last year, will be hosted in South Africa’s North West province in December and PPC will have an option to renew its sponsorship for a further three years.
COSAFA announced the news this morning and COSAFA president Suketu Patel commended PPC for the company’s dedication to growing Southern African football and to promoting the young stars of tomorrow.
“Our core business is the development of football in the region and it’s not easy to find corporates such as PPC who share the same virtues and passion for the growth of the game in Southern Africa. We are grateful to PPC and to the North West province for making this tournament possible and we look forward to seeing the best of our young Southern African talent on the pitch,” Patel said.
Rob Rein, the Executive: Sales and Marketing at PPC, also applauded the deal which has given the COSAFA Under-20 Youth Championship a lifeline.
“Sport has the power to transform lives, uplift communities and shape the future of Africa’s next generation. PPC recognises the importance of this sponsorship in creating a development pipeline that will impact and uplift communities across southern Africa,” he said.
Rein added: “April this year sees PPC celebrating 124 years as a truly African success story – a focussed business that reflects the strengths of its people, products and services. As we look forward to our on-going role in shaping Africa’s future we recognise that creating long-term success requires a new approach to business.”
The COSAFA Under-20 Youth Championship has taken on many guises over its 33-year history but has always been an important breeding ground for young talent in the region.
Stars such as Itumeleng Khune, Daine Klate and Lebohang Mokoena of South Africa all got their introduction into international football tournaments at this event.
Clifford Mulenga and Isaac Chansa (both Zambia), Tinashe Nengomasha and Onismor Bhasera (both Zimbabwe) as well as Jimmy Zakazaka of Malawi are other stars who have used the tournament as a springboard.
|Lesotho's Sepiriti Malefane (right) in action during the 2013 edition|
The last edition in 2013 was hosted by Lesotho and members of that Makoanyane XI side such as Thabiso Brown, Hlompho Kalake and Sepiriti Malefane have gone on to become regulars in the senior side, Likuena.
Only four nations – Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Madagascar – have lifted the COSAFA U20 Youth Championship trophy.
Zambia has been the most dominant team with 10 victories to its name. They are followed by Zimbabwe with six titles, defending champions South Africa with five and Madagascar with one.
The last edition of the COSAFA Under-20 Championship was won by South Africa who defeated guest nation Kenya 2-0 in the final.