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Local referees drilled on COSAFA futsal – beach soccer

The Botswana Football Association (BFA) refereeing duo of Armstrong Tumelo and Orebotse Kekobang are currently attending a four-day virtual course on officiating beach football courtesy of COSAFA. The online exercise, which started on Tuesday saw participants enduring three hours of coursework daily. The drill will end today, Friday, June 4, 2021.

BFA Referees Manager, Phodiso Jonti Rasetsoga said the training came at the right time as COSAFA is currently planning to introduce beach football into their competitions catalogue, hence they found it fit to educate regional referees.

Rasetshoga said, “Although COSAFA has not come up with the exact dates for staging of this competition, it wants to include it in their competitions in future. The referees are trained on officiating both 5-aside football and beach football,” said Rasetsoga.

One of the participants, Tumelo, who is a Botswana retired referee expressed confidence on gaining all necessary knowledge so he could later become an instructor to other Batswana referees who may want to officiate beach football in the future.

Orebotse Kekobang

Her counterpart, Kekobang is a Motswana female football referee in the 5-aside football category and was also confident that after the four days of training, she will be well equipped to exercise her refereeing duties diligently.

Meanwhile, BFA Youth Development Officer, Odirile China Matlhaku said it is significant for COSAFA to conduct this course, as beach soccer and 5-aside are completely different from general football.

“Futsal 5-aside is completely different from football. It has its own rules. For instance, there are no throw-ins in beach soccer and five aside, and they also use roll-on substitutes, something that does not apply on 11-man football,” added Matlhaku.  

The duo was equipped with all the necessary tools by the BFA at Lekidi Football Centre to undergo their online training.

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Draw for historic 20th edition of the COSAFA Cup set for Thursday 17th June

The draw for the 2021 COSAFA Cup will be staged in host city Nelson Mandela Bay on Thursday, June 17 as preparations for the historic 20th edition of the regional showpiece competition kick into gear. The 12-team tournament will take place from July 7-18 and returns after the 2020 edition had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The draw will be live on from 11h00, when the fate of the competing teams will be decided.

And there will be plenty of excitement with the addition of west African powerhouse Senegal to the field this year as they make a guest appearance in what is a landmark tournament for COSAFA. The COSAFA Cup has, over the years, launched the careers of a number of top stars from the region and continues to be a major driver of football development on and off the pitch for not just players, but also coaches, match officials and administrators.

The competition will take on a new format for 2021 with the 12 teams split into three groups each containing four teams. This ensures each side will play a minimum of three matches. The top team in each pool, as well as the best second-placed finisher, will advance to the semifinals. There will be no Plate competition.

Zebras will know their opponents on Thursday ahead of the virtual draw

Senegal is the top-ranked side in Africa and sit at number 22 in the world and will make their debut in COSAFA competition. Guest nations from outside the region have, over the years, provided excellent entertainment and a contrast in styles that makes for fascinating viewing. The other 10 sides confirmed so far are no strangers to the COSAFA Cup and include hosts South Africa, defending champions Zambia and record six-time winners Zimbabwe.

Others to have booked their place are Botswana, Comoros Islands, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia. The 12th team will be confirmed in the coming days with a number of interested parties. Those who are competing in the group stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers that start in September will be eager to use the tournament to fine-tune their preparations for a shot at making the finals in Qatar.

The 19 previous editions of the competition have seen some great performances and incredible games that have been written into the folklore of Southern African football, but only five nations can claim to have lifted the coveted trophy. Zimbabwe (six wins) lead the way, followed by Zambia (five), South Africa (four), Angola (three) and Namibia (one).

Mozambique, Malawi and Botswana have all twice been finalists, but ended up on the losing side on both occasions. Lesotho (2000) are the only other team to reach the decider.   

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