Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) has confirmed that Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will replace Rwanda after the latter announced its intention to withdraw citing technical challenges as the reasons.
This will be DRC’s straight regional championship following their appearance in last tournament hosted by Namibia.
Rwanda’s Federation Rwandaise de Football Association Vincent Nzamwita has through Cosafa website that they have failed to assemble an Under 20 nationaal team side.
“As much as we had wanted to take part in the championship in a bid to develop our upcoming talents, we have been faced with a challenge of assembling a national Under 20 team since the majority of players are part of our divisions clubs featuring in the 2016/17 Azam Rwanda Premier League season,” said Nzamwita.
However, Cosafa Competitions Committee Chairman Timothy Shongwe expressed disappointment with the development but said the reasoning is quite understandable.
Shongwe said his association believes DRC are the worth replcements.
DRC joins Mozambique and Comoros in Group D.
Group A comprises of the hosts and defending champions South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana.
Malawi is in group B alonside Zambia and Zimbabwe while Angola, Namibia, Seychelles and Mauritius are in group C.
According to COSAFA, all the teams will play each other in their respective groups in a round-robin format with only the top side from each pool advancing to the semifinals.
The only twist is that the top teams in Group B and D which have three teams, after the second round will play a third game as a crossover fixture between those two pools to ensure that the most competing sides get to play three times.
The winner of Group B will play the winner of Group D and vice-versa.
The group matches will be played between 7th and 13th December while semifinals will be played a day later before the remaining teams rest for a day waiting for the final.
Both the third place and actual final will be played on 3rd December.
Two venues will be used during the 2016 Cosafa Under 20 edition and these are Mogwase and Moruleng with the latter exclusively been used from the semifinal stage onwards.
Zambian remains the only nation to have won the tournment with a 10 time record followed by Zimbabwe six while South Africa has won the cup five times.
Madagascar is the only other team to have won the prestigious trophy once in 2005.
Meanwhile, Malawi starts assembling its Under 20 squad on 6th November
2016 in readiness for the Cosafa Junior tournament.