Mbabane: Following Monday’s COSAFA Cup draw, Eswatini junior national squad have been handed tough draws.
The Under-20 national team are in a tricky three-club group for next month’s tournament while the Under-17s are in the same group as South Africa, Zimbabwe and Angola.
Eswatini has South Africa and Zimbabwe to deal with in the pool stages of the 2020 COSAFA Men’s Under-20 Championship after the draw was made for the zonal qualifier in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa on Monday.
The draw was also conducted for the COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship, where teams will also be bedding for a place in the continental finals.
South Africa and Zimbabwe were drawn in Group A along with Mozambique and Lesotho in what should be a very competitive pool at the December 3-13 event.
Group B contains defending champions Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and Comoros Islands, while the three-team Group C is made up of Angola, Eswatini and Botswana.
Only the top team in each pool and the best-placed runners-up advance to the semifinals, with the two teams that contest the decider to earn a place in the CAF Uncder-20 Cup of Nations next year.
Meanwhile, South Africa, Angola, Zimbabwe and Eswatini have been drawn in a Group of Death at the 2020 COSAFA Men’s Under-17 Championship from November 19-29, with two of those teams to miss out on a place in the semifinals.
Angola defeated Eswatini 5-0 to claim bronze in 2019, and both will expect to reach the semifinals again.
Add to that hosts South Africa and the ever-competitive Zimbabwe, and it is likely to be a fiercely contested pool with the top two advancing to the next stage.
Group B contains defending champions Zambia, Botswana, Malawi and Comoros Islands, with Zambia’s pedigree suggesting the remaining three teams will be fighting over one spot.
The two sides that contest the final of the 2020 competition will earn their place at the continental championships when the CAF Under-17 Cup of Nations is played next year.
COSAFA Men’s U17 Championship draw:
COSAFA Men’s U20 Championship draw: