Organisers have made a switch to the timing of the 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship final and third-place play-off that will both be staged at the Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay.
The final had been brought forward to a 12h00 kick-off on Saturday, 22 September, while the bronze-medal match will now kick-off at 15h00 on Friday, 21 September.
The regional showpiece competition gets underway next Wednesday with an all-star cast that includes regional heavyweights, the Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, as well as Central African guest nation Cameroon.
Hosts and defending champions South Africa have selected a strong squad as they build towards the African Women’s Championships finals in Ghana in November, with Zambia and Cameroon having the same goal.
Banyana Banyana are the top seeds in Group A and they will take on Botswana, Madagascar and Malawi in their bid to reach the semifinals for the sixth successive time in this competition.
Group B contains Zambia and Cameroon, as well as Lesotho and Mozambique, while Group C contains 2011 winners and last year’s runners-up Zimbabwe, along with Swaziland, Namibia and East African guest nation Uganda.
The first COSAFA Women’s Championship was held in Zimbabwe in 2002 and was won by South Africa, who beat their hosts 2-1 in the final.
Four years later and the South Africans triumphed again at the finals in Zambia, when they beat Namibia 3-1 in the decider. South Africa then made it three in a row when they beat Zimbabwe in the finals of the 2008 tournament in Malange, Angola.
Zimbabwe then claimed the title in 2011, when they also acted as hosts, defeating South Africa 1-0 in the final.
Banyana Banyana got their revenge in Bulawayo 12 months ago though as they ran out 2-1 winners, their fourth trophy win in five events.