Who are the top teams in history?
The historic 20th edition of the Cosafa Cup gets underway at Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa on Tuesday and below Goal lists the previous displays of each and every team taking part this year.
Nicknamed ‘The Warriors’, Zimbabwe have won the Cosafa trophy six times in the history of the competition and their latest achievement came in 2018 when they defeated Zambia 4-2 in the final, and they had also won it in 2017 after beating Chipolopolo 3-1 in the final.
Zimbabwe, who reached the semi-finals of the last edition in 2019, also won the title in 2000, 2003, 2005, 2009, and will be keen to make it seven titles under coach Zdravko Logarusic in South Africa.
Chipolopolo are the defending champions having defeated Botswana in the final of the last edition (2019), and they already have five Cosafa Cup trophies to their name – as they won the first two editions in 1997 and 1998 and also in 2006 and 2013.
Zambia, who will be under Serbian coach Milutin Sredojevic, have also reached 16 semi-finals, the most of any participating teams, and will be targeting to win the trophy back-to-back for the second time in the history of the nation.
Bafana Bafana are the third most successful nation in Cosafa history as they have managed to win the trophy on four occasions - 2002, 2007, 2008, and 2016 and also managed to win the plate in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 editions.
With the plate cancelled for the 2021 edition, South Africa, who will be under assistant coach Helman Mkhalele in the absence of first-team coach Hugo Broos, will fancy the advantage of playing at home and go for the main trophy this time around.
- Samuel Shivambu
The Braves Warriors made their debut in the competition in 1997, where they failed to make it past the group stages but since then, they have grown in stature and in 1999 they were runners-up and in 2000 they reached their first-ever quarter-finals but lost to Botswana on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
In 2015, Namibia, who are drawn in Group C alongside Senegal, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique finally laid their hands on the trophy after beating Mozambique 2-0 in the final and they will be targeting to repeat the same fete in this campaign.
- Goal Kenya.
Though they are yet to win the trophy, the Mambas have made great strides since their debut edition in 1997 when they finished third in the group stage, but reached two semi-finals in 2004 and 2008 and the final in 2015 where they lost 2-0 to Namibia.
In the last four editions, they reached the quarter-finals in 2016 but have failed to make it past the group stages in the last three, meaning they will have to up their game if they are to leave a mark in the 2021 edition.
The Flames have twice come close to winning the trophy in 2002 and 2003 when they reached the final but lost to South Africa and Zimbabwe and they have also reached the quarters on six occasions – in 2000, 2004, 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2019.
In 2013, they lost 3-2 to Angola in the quarters but in 2015, they made amends to return home with the plate as they defeated Namibia in the decider but they failed to make it past the first round in 2016, 2017 and 2018 editions before losing to Zambia in the quarters of the 2019 edition.
The Zebras have enjoyed some good results since their first appearance in 1997 and were the losing finalists in the last edition after Zambia emerged 1-0 winners to deny them the trophy.
Under coach Adel Amrouche, Botswana, who have managed five quarter-finals and three semi-final appearances, will be looking to better their performance from last season and win the trophy for the first time in the country’s history this term.
Lesotho’s best performance came in 2000 when they surprised many to reach the final but they suffered a heavy 6-0 defeat against Zimbabwe. The defeat did not dampen their spirit as in the following edition they reached the quarter-finals but lost to Zambia.
In 2013 edition, they finished fourth, after advancing through the group stages before losing in the semis to Zimbabwe and then being beaten to the bronze by South Africa but they would further reach the semis in 2017, 2018 and 2019, narrowly losing on each occasion.
Madagascar made their first appearance in 2002 and surprisingly reached the quarter-finals where they lost on penalties to South Africa and in the next edition they also reached the last eight after beating Mauritius but in 2004 and 2007 edition, they failed to go past the group stages.
In 2008 they reached the semi-finals but lost narrowly to Mozambique and they had to wait until 2018 to reach another semi-final spot but they were beaten by Zambia, and managed a fourth place finish after beating Lesotho 1-0 in the play-offs to win a bronze medal.
The Sihlangu have made it to the semis on four occasions – in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2016 – and also have a couple of quarter-final appearances in 2017 and 2018, but they failed to make it past this stage in the 2019 edition when they were ousted in the first round.
They posted a good run in 2016 when they topped a tough pool which also had Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Seychelles, then defeated Zambia in penalties in the quarters and they will be looking to reciprocate the same form or even better it in South Africa.
The West Africans will feature as a guest nation and they have been drawn in Group C alongside six-time winners Zimbabwe, 2015 champions Namibia, and Mozambique with only the top team assured of a place in the last four.
The Lions of Teranga. who are the current champions of the Wafu Cup, the West African version of the Cosafa Cup, after beating Ghana on penalties in the last edition, have confirmed they will not bring their first team squad but they have vowed to make history by being the first guest team to win the trophy.