By Geoffrey Asiimwe
Group A: South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana
Group B: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi
Group C: Angola, Namibia, Seychelles, Mauritius
Group D: Rwanda, Mozambique, Comoros Islands
Rwanda U20 football coach Jimmy Mulisa has described the team’s participation in the forthcoming COSAFA U20 tournament as an enormous opportunity for the players to get exposure and gain valuable experience playing at the big stage.
The ‘Junior Wasps’, who were invited to replace Madagascar in the tournament, will be making their maiden appearance at the Southern Africa youth showpiece, which is set to run from December 7-16 in South Africa.
The former Rwanda international made the remarks on Wednesday after his team was pitted against Mozambique and Comoros Islands in Pool D of the 10-day tournament.
The draws were held on Wednesday in Moruleng, South Africa.
“This is going to be a very good opportunity for my players because the more games they play, the more exposure and more confident they will become going forward, plus experience is everything for any young player,” said Mulisa.
Mulisa guided Rwanda’s senior football team to a 1-all draw in their last AfCON 2017 qualifier against Ghana in Accra in September, but it wasn’t enough as Amavubi were already out of the qualification race.
Meanwhile, COSAFA U20 tournament hosts and defending champions South Africa have been drawn against neighbours Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana in Group A.
Group B includes Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, while Group C comprises Angola, Namibia, Seychelles and Mauritius. The teams will play each other with the top sides from each pool advancing to the semi-finals.
One twist is that the top teams in groups B and D, after the second round of matches, will play a third game as a crossover fixture between those two pools, to ensure that most competing sides get to play three times.
The top team sides in Group B will play the second team in Group D and vice versa. The matches will be played at two venues; Mogwase stadium and Moruleng stadium, with the latter being used exclusively for the semi-final matches and the final.