Zimbabwe has pulled out of hosting this year’s edition of the Cosafa Cup, citing inadequate time to organise the competition.
Last month, the Zimbabwe FA (Zifa) accepted to host the tournament which is scheduled to run from May 19 to June 1. But the country’s Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry said this is not the right time to stage the annual competition.
“We have had some deliberations this morning and we needed to come to the media and the country and let you know some of the outcomes. The main discussions were on and around the hosting of Cosafa, and it has been agreed that at this time that the deal was just not very good for the country or for Zifa,” Coventry told a press conference.
“So, we will not be hosting the Cosafa games this year but we look forward to having adequate time to be able to host a world class event in the near future. We want to make sure that when we do host an event of this magnitude, that we are fully prepared, we have good timing.
“We just do not feel that was really given to us this time around. Moving forward, we will continue to work closely with Zifa in terms of what the next steps are and what the future holds in terms of hosting the event.”
The last time Zimbabwe staged the Cosafa Cup was in 2009 and the Warriors won the tournament.
Zifa president Felton Kamambo, however, said they will bid to host the Cosafa Cup at least from 2021. "We will try and bid for future hosting of Cosafa, that is maybe from 2021 going upwards, so that we have enough time, like the minister has said, to prepare to host this tournament.”
The Warriors are the Cosafa Cup defending champions after winning back-to-back tournaments for the past two years.