BY STEVEN WYSON
The 2019 COSAFA Under-17 Youth Championship participating teams and officials have started arriving in the country ahead of the tournament’s kick-off on Friday.
Comoros, who are taking part in the tournament for the first time, will be the first team to arrive via Chileka Airport on Tuesday afternoon while Lesotho and Angola will arrive through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe on Wednesday afternoon.
Mozambique are travelling by road from Tete and will arrive on Wednesday through Mwanza Boarder.
South Africa will come in two groups through Chileka with the first one arriving on Wednesday and the other on Thursday. Zambia will also arrive on Wednesday while Eswatini will jet in on Thursday.
The referees for the tournament arrived on Saturday and have, since Sunday, been attending a pre-tournament referees’ course which ends on Thursday.
COSAFA officials also started arriving on Saturday and the latest to arrive on Monday was Deputy General Secretary and Competition Manager Suzgo Nyirenda.
COSAFA GS and Tournament Director Susan Destombes will arrive on Thursday while Cosafa President Phillip Chiyangwa and COSAFA Competitions Chairman Timothy Shongwe will jet in before the knockout stages next week.
Nyirenda, who is a former FAM GS, will lead the COSAFA team in inspecting all facilities on Tuesday and Wednesday.
FAM Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said all is set for the country to host the tournament.
“On behalf of the LOC Chairman I would like say that we are excited to host the tournament and everything is in place and we can’t wait for the games to start.
“After the inspections we will meet with COSAFA to finalise the whole programme of the event,” said Zakazaka.
Malawi are in Group A alongside South Africa, Zambia and Eswatini while Group B has Lesotho, Comoros Angola and Mozambique.
Lesotho will face Comoros in the tournament’s opening fixture at the Mpira Stadium in Chiwembe on Friday morning before Angola take on Mozambique later in the afternoon.
The Official opening ceremony is on Saturday at the same venue as Eswatini play Zambia in a Group B opener at 11 am before Malawi face South Africa at 2 pm.