The 2008 finalists Mozambique are in search of their first-ever Cosafa Men’s Under-20 Championship title as they have struggled to make it past the group stages in recent years, something they will hope to change this year in Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth.
Mozambique will be entering a team in their first Cosafa event of 2020, having skipped the Women’s Senior and Under-17 competitions as well as the Men’s Under-17 event, currently on the go.
At U20 level, the young Mambas have real ambition of being amongst the best nations and seal a place at the 2021 Africa Under-20 Cup of Nations that is slated for Mauritania next year.
For Mozambique to qualify for the U20 Afcon, they will need to reach the final of the Cosafa tournament – a feat they have failed to achieve in 12 years.
In fact, in the eight tournaments they have played since that 2008 appearance in the final, they have been knocked out in the group stages in all the Cosafa U20 editions.
The young Mambas will play in the opening match against Lesotho in Group A on Thursday, 3 December followed by a clash with Zimbabwe on December 6, before they round up their pool play against hosts South Africa on December 8.
It would be some sort of revenge if they were to knock the latter out of the competition as they lost to hosts South Africa in their only final appearance back in 2008.
Ony the top team in each pool and the best-placed runner-up advance to the semifinal. The Cosafa U20 edition is set to conclude on 13 December.
Mozambique narrowly missed out on a semifinal spot in Botswana in 2011, just pipping them on goal difference in a three-team pool that also included Eswatini.
They were unbeaten in 2018 with a victory over DR Congo and draws with Malawi and Zambia, but there five points were not enough to put them into the next round.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi