AFTER months of trying to source sponsorship for the 2014 edition of the Cosafa Senior Challenge, the regional football body has confirmed its failure and the final cancellation of this year’s instalment.
The tournament, which only made a return last year after four years in the doldrums and was hosted and won by Zambia after beating Zimbabwe 2-0 in the final at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, was expected to be held in Botswana next month.
Zimbabwe were the initial hosts, but with no government guarantees, Botswana was selected, but after hosting the Africa Youth Games in May, it could have been tough to find a headline sponsor.
Zimbabwe will also be hosting the Africa Union Region 5 Games in Bulawayo in December.
In a statement yesterday, Cosafa said: “The Council of Southern African Football Associations (Cosafa) regrets to announce that despite best efforts, the 2014 Cosafa Cup will not take place this year.
“Cosafa had formally sought approval of the South African Football Association (Safa) for the tournament to be staged in their territory, at no cost to Safa; but as we have failed to receive the requisite permission from Safa, who cited the non-availability of dates in November/December from the PSL as the reason, Cosafa is forced to cancel the event.
“It comes as a huge disappointment to the region as a commercial sponsor was in place for the 2014, 2016 and 2018 event, but their participation was contingent on the tournament being played in South Africa due to existing high standard of playing and broadcast infrastructure in the country.”
Cosafa president Suketu Patel said they were now working on securing a sponsor for next year’s edition.
“The Cosafa Cup plays a crucial role in helping develop the national teams of member associations and this year would have been of huge benefit as they prepare for qualifiers for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. No one is more disappointed than I, but now we can only work even harder and look forward towards the hosting and sponsorship for the 2015 tournament.”