The 2018 COSAFA Women’s Championship will have added spice this year after the inclusion of African powerhouse Cameroon and Uganda in the 12-team field for the competition that will be staged in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality from September 12-22. Cameroon qualified for the last FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015 and were also at the London Olympic Games three years earlier, showing their repaid improvement in the women’s game in the last decade.
The side have also finished runners-up in the last two African Women’s Championships and have qualified again for the competition to be played in Ghana from November 17. In fact, in their previous 11 appearances at the continental showpiece tournament, they have only finished outside of the Last 4 once, in South Africa in 2000. The side is currently ranked as the third best on the African continent, after Nigeria and Ghana, and will be the highest ranked side at the COSAFA Women’s Championship, just ahead of hosts South Africa.
Cameroon are positioned at number 48 in the world and South Africa number 51. East African nation Uganda are hoping to take their game to another level having only once before qualified for the continental championships – ironically in that 2000 event hosted in South Africa. They will bring a different style to the tournament and will hope to do better than rivals Kenya, who finished fourth at the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championships when they were a guest nation in Bulawayo last year.
The pair join COSAFA sides South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland in the field. The teams will learn their first-round fate on Wednesday, August 29 when the draw is held for the pool stages. The 12 teams will be split into three groups each containing four sides. The top team in each pool will advance to the semifinals along with the best-placed runners-up. South Africa are the defending champions after they beat Zimbabwe 2-1 in the final 12 months ago.