Kenya to participate in 2013 COSAFA tournament

Federation CEO Michael Esakwa reveals to that Kenya have accepted an invitation to participate in the tournament set for Zambia between July 6 and 21

By Dennis Mabuka

Kenya's Harambee Stars will compete in this year’s edition of COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup set for Zambia between July 6 to 21.

Kenya FA CEO Michael Esakwa revealed to on Friday that they have accepted an invitation to participate in the tournament and will send a representative to attend the draw scheduled for May 3 in Lusaka.

“We received an invitation from Cosafa President Suketu Patel to participate in the tournament and we have already accepted. We will definitely send a strong team for good representation," said Esakwa.

According to a communique from Cosafa to Kenya FA, fourteen teams will take part in the competition with the format involving lower 8 teams (based on Fifa rankings during the draw), playing in the Group phase. The winner of each Group will then advance to the quarter-finals.

In the quarters, the 6 top ranked teams will then join the two Group winners in the quarters, semis and finals. The group phase matches will be played in Lusaka and Kabwe from July 6 to 11 and all teams are expected to arrive in Zambia on July 4.

This will be the first time that Zambia will be hosting the tournament proper after staging the Group C three-team mini-tournament in 2006 in Lusaka. The tournament has been revived after a four-year hiatus.

Defending champions Zimbabwe have won it a record four times while Zambia, South Africa and Angola are tied at three victories each. The Cosafa Cup, which has been hit by sponsorship problems, was last held in 2009 when Zimbabwe hosted and won the event.

Angola's bid to host the 2010 fell through after it's government failed to guarantee support for the championship.

The Cosafa family is made up of Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Réunion, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.