PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA — Since 2002, there has been six COSAFA Women’s Championships hosted, each providing excitement and showcasing the quality of talent in the Southern Africa region. Ahead of the seventh instalment to be staged in Port Elizabeth from July 31-August 11, we take a look back at the history of the competition over the last 17 years.
2002 COSAFA WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
The inaugural COSAFA Women’s Championship was staged in Zimbabwe from April 19-28, 2002, and was to feature nine teams before Mauritius withdrew. South Africa and hosts Zimbabwe were always going to be favourites as they also met in the final. But before then both had persevered through their pools to make the semi-finals. Zimbabwe topped Group A as they claimed a record 15-0 victory over Lesotho to go with a win against Zambia (4-0) and Malawi (6-0).
The Zambians managed to fill the runners-up spot. South Africa were even more emphatic in their pool stage campaign as they claimed victories over Botswana (14-0), a game in which Veronica Phewe scored eight goals, Mozambique (13-0) and Swaziland (4-0). Mozambique picked up the runners-up position in Group B.Zimbabwe made short work of Mozambique in their semifinal with an 11-1 victory, while South Africa had it much tougher with a 3-1 success against Zambia in the other semi. That culminated into a final at the Rufaro Stadium that was won 2-1 by South Africa thanks to goals from Phewe and Portia Modise.
Zambia took the bronze medal when Julia Siame scored the only goal as they beat Mozambique 1-0 in the third-place play-off.
2006 COSAFA WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
South Africa retained their title at the second COSAFA Women’s Championship played in Zambia. Again there were originally nine entrants, but when Mozambique withdrew the field was cut to eight, though it was still played with three groups. Zambia and Namibia qualified for the semifinals from Group A as they both managed four points. They opened their campaign with a 2-2 draw against one another, before Zambia beat Swaziland 7-0and Namibia managed a 6-0 win against the Swazis.
In Group B, South Africa won both of their matches as they defeated Lesotho (9-0) and Malawi (3-0) to top the pool.
Phewe and Modise were among the scorers as well as Joanne Solomon who managed a hat-trick in the first game.
With Mozambique out, Group C was reduced to two teams, so Zimbabwe and Angola essentially played over two legs, with the Zimbabweans winning 3-1 and 1-0 to advance as pool winners.