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Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup Brings Excitement To Kwazulu-Natal

The 2022 Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup is set to be the best yet with top teams and players to take part in the July 5-17 competition in Durban.
On this episode of The COSAFA Show, we hear from COSAFA President Artur de Almeida e Silva after the draw was held this past week as he explains why more corporates from around the Southern Africa region should get involved in the tournament.
We also get the view of Hollywoodbets Brand and Communications manager Devin Heffer as he explains why they were so keen to come on board, not just for this tournament but several other COSAFA events in 2022.

Dr. Fikile Ndlovu, who is acting Head of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport, Arts & Culture, reveals why they are delighted to see the tournament return to Durban after they last staged the event in 2019.
And Brilliant Khuzwayo, who is a former goalkeeper for Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana, but saw his career cut short by injury, has his say. He has become involved in football development and will be an ambassador for the Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup this year. 

Finally, we have an in-depth interview with Seychelles Football Federation President Elvis Chetty on how that organisation is emerging from the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and just what the future holds in the island nation.

Malawi's Flames Ready To Meet Raised Expectations

Football Association of Malawi President Walter Nyamilandu says the team is ready to meet the raised expectations on the side following their stunning performance at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon earlier this year.
The Flames reached the second round of the continental showpiece for the first time and took Morocco close in the knockout stages, showing a massive improvement in performance.
Nyamilandu admits the hard part is now to replicate that but believes the side are on a new upward trajectory as they host Ethiopia in Sunday’s opener for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
“We needed to showcase how good Malawi is. All those years we were misfiring, but it is great that the Flames brought some good news for Malawi,” Nyamilandu told The COSAFA Show.

“The performance [in Cameroon] was exceptional, beyond the expectations of a lot of people, and we take pride in what we achieved. It was something historical. We are still enjoying the moment and I hope it will last a long time. 
“Our plan is to start from where we left off. We were on a high and we want to capitalise on that momentum as a springboard. The boys have a lot of confidence that they can excel. We are taking matches very seriously because we want to go to the finals in Ivory Coast.
“There is an expectation from Malawians that we will qualify. We need to make a big statement.”

Also in this episode, we speak to Botswana Football Association President Maclean Letshwiti about The Mares’ maiden appearance at the 2022 CAF Women’s Cup of Nations finals in Morocco next month, and the joint bid with Namibia to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
 Finally, we hear from Eswatini Football Association President Peter Simalane about developments in that country.

New COSAFA President Promises Closer Co-Operation Among Members

New COSAFA President Artur de Almeida e Silva has said he wants to bring Member Associations closer together to solve their problems internally, rather than have CAF or FIFA get involved. Artur de Almeida was speaking in an exclusive interview with The COSAFA Show podcast following his election at the organisation’s General Assembly in Windhoek, Namibia on Saturday. “We need to bring all countries of COSAFA next to each other and next to their governments to help build infrastructure and help the federations. We have to connect our members,” Artur de Almeida said. “In our region, we have so many conflicts in the federations.

One idea is to have each of the seven members of the COSAFA Executive Committee assist two countries. To help them, maybe they visit the countries two or three times a year to meet the federation to know things are going and what assistance they need. “If there are some conflicts, COSAFA can be the first one to go and fix the problem. Before CAF or FIFA. For that, we have to come next to our members.”

Also in this episode we speak to newly-elected COSAFA Vice-President Said Ali Said Athouman on his vision and how he, as his country’s federation president, has masterminded the incredible growth of the Comoros national team in recent years.

'You Are Playing Big Boys Now' - Botswana Coach Mpote

Botswana coach Mogomotsi Mpote admits his side are in a tough 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification group but is hopeful that with some fresh talent to compliment his established stars, they can return to the continental showpiece for the first time since 2012.
The Zebras are in a pool along with Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, and Libya, with the top two teams to advance to the finals in Ivory Coast next year. 
It is certainly a difficult group with three worthy opponents and some arduous travels, but Mpote is confident his side will compete.

“It’s a tough one, there is no easy group [in the qualifiers],” Mpote says. “You are playing big boys now. You need to prepare well and play those games. We are expecting to work hard and win some matches. 
“We always think about the advantage of other countries, whereby they have players who are playing in the European leagues, and you have boys who are not in those leagues.
“But at least we know the boys are playing week in, week out [in the local league]. We are looking forward to those games.”

Mpote, who led Botswana to the 2019 COSAFA Cup final, where they lost to Zambia, says he would like to introduce some new players into the squad during the campaign.
“You have to mix [the squad], because we are looking at 2023 and beyond. You have players from the Under-23s, and then the tried and tested boys. If you mix, and you know you have at least two players in each position, young and senior, you will make it.
“The Under-23s will know what we are up against when we play these CAF games. Many of the boys admire the players in Europe, but once you play with them [you learn the level] and find a way to compete with them.”

Also in this episode of The COSAFA Show, we hear from Petro Atletico coach Alexandre Santos on how they defeated Mamelodi Sundowns in the CAF Champions League, and the co-coach of Orlando Pirates Mandla Ncikazi on their progress in the CAF Confederation Cup.

Malawi Coach Believes Teams Can Achieve Back-To-Back Qualifications

Malawi coach Mario Marinica is hoping to take The Flames back to the Africa Cup of Nations finals in 2023 after their excellent showing in reaching the second round in Cameroon earlier this year. Malawi have been drawn with Egypt, Guinea, and Ethiopia in Group D of the latest qualifiers that are due to begin in June, and while Marinica admits it is “not easy”, he is hopeful they can continue to show the improvement that served them so well at the last finals. One worry is a lack of game-time at the club level for some of his top stars, including Orlando Pirates forward Gabadinho Mhango, but the Romanian coach says they will just have to manage the situation. “Not too many things have changed, but unfortunately our top player Gabadinho Mhango, like at the AFCON, is still not a regular for his team,” Marinica told The COSAFA Show.

“But we believe in him and every single player we choose. We think that by working hard and being organised, we have a chance. “You rely on selecting players on merit and on form, and when these players are not playing regularly, it is a difficult task. But at the end of the day, we must make do with the best players we have on hand.
“At [the 2021] AFCON, we were the team with the most players playing in the local league – 14 out of 28. That will likely not change this time either.”

Also on this episode of The COSAFA Show, we get draw reaction from Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos, while COSAFA General Secretary Sue Destombes gives an update on the latest tournament calendar for 2022.

There Is One African Team That Can Win The World Cup - Oliseh

Nigeria legend Sunday Oliseh believes African football is yet to reach its full potential but says there is one side on the continent that could win the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year. Oliseh was a star of the Super Eagles team that excelled at the 1994 World Cup in the United States and won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Atlanta two years later. So he is well placed to speak about Africa’s potential and why we have yet to fulfill Pele’s prophecy that a team from the continent would win the World Cup by the year 2000. “There is one team that can win it in Africa and that is Senegal,” Oliseh told The COSAFA Show. “I have been following them for the past few years and watching the players in Europe, and the importance that they bring to their clubs. “Senegal currently has the best goalkeeper in the world [Edouard Mendy], he makes saves, he is calm, and has height. “They also have one of the best central defenders in the world in Kalidou Koulibaly. I am amazed he is still at Napoli! He is solid on the ball, solid on the man, he can even move from the defence to the defensive midfield role.“And then they have Sadio Mane, and I don’t need to say any more about him. They also have an African coach [Aliou Cisse] that has been there for eight years now. “So they have continuity, they have the talent and the exposure, all that is lacking in this team, in my opinion, is that high-level organisation. They need to go there with the view that they can win it.” Also in this episode, we speak to Eswatini coach Dominic Kunene about their progression to the next stage of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and hear from Bafana Bafana mentor Hugo Broos following their 5-0 loss in France.
We also get the view of Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi as they attempt to make CAF Champions League history this weekend.

Asanovic Ready To Take Zambia To The Next Level

New Zambia coach Aljosa Asanovic says there is no reason why his side cannot qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast … or even the FIFA World Cup in 2026.
Croatian Asanovic has recently taken over the side and will lead them in friendly games this month, starting with a trip for locally-based players to Iraq on Friday, before they tackle Guinea and maybe one other team in France.
Chipolopolo did not qualify for the 2021 Cup of Nations, a wake-up call for the side, but Asanovic is adamant that they will be in Ivory Coast. “We have the target to go to the CHAN [African Nations Championship], and I have the target to prepare the team for the COSAFA Cup. I have many targets, but the first one is to qualify the team for the next Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast,” Asanovic told The COSAFA Show. 
“This is an obligation for myself and my players to the Zambian people. We have 18-million people who expect that we will be at Afcon.” He says he is aware of what needs to change within the team and says raising the level of performance and being more consistent in games is the place to start. “I know how I need to make my team the best [it can be],” he said. “I have a very good team, but what I want to try to change is the discipline in the game. The mentality of the players.
“The game is 90 minutes, and the whole time the performance must be on the same level. The discipline in the game and the quality of each player. This is what I am thinking all the time.
“If you are disciplined in training, that will translate into the discipline in the game.”
We also speak to Lesotho Football Association secretary-general Mokhosi Mohapi about the appointment of Veselin Jelusic as that country's new coach ahead of their 2023 Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles starting next week.


'Talent Is Everywhere' - LaLiga Coaches Spread Knowledge In Southern Africa

There is great football talent all around the world, but the key is how to develop young players with raw ability into the finished article for professional football. That is the view of LaLiga Senior Specialist in Football Projects Development Saul Vazquez, who tells The COSAFA Show finding players with talent in different countries is not the problem, but the deciding factor in whether they make it in the game is often the environment they are in.
There might be a potential global great in Southern Africa as we speak, but if they do not get the right training and opportunities to reach their potential, they never will, according to Vazquez. “Talent is everywhere, you can see good players in different countries. The difference is the way to develop them or the chances to develop them,” Vazquez says, adding that is a message they drive home in their LaLiga Masterclass coaching workshops.
“Sometimes the difficulty is to understand the context. That is why we can adapt our philosophy and methodology to the real context. It does not matter if we are in America, India, China or South Africa, if we can adapt our content and methodology to those players, and adapt a little bit to the environment, then everywhere we can build good players.”
LaLiga has been hosting workshops for Southern African coaches this month and Sports Projects Coordinator Carlos Casal echoes Vazquez’s views.
“For us, it is a wonderful opportunity because we believe there is huge talent in Southern Africa – not only with players but also coaches,” Casal says. 
“We believe they have interest in the methodology and how they can go one step further, and the good thing is that in this coaching series with COSAFA, we were analysing what we did in the past.
Vazquez and Casal discuss a whole range of issues on this episode of The COSAFA Show, including what makes Spain such a successful footballing country.
We also hear from the coaches of Zambia and South Africa Womens teams.


COSAFA Referees Manager Felix Tangawarima has hailed the performance of his protégé, Victor Gomes, in the Africa Cup of Nations final as a huge success and a victory for the whole of the Southern African region. Gomes took charge of the deciding match between winners Senegal and Egypt and did not put a foot wrong in an exemplary display of officiating along with his assistants, Zakhele Siwela from South Africa and Lesotho's Souru Phatsoane. Gomes was groomed through the COSAFA age-group tournaments and began refereeing on the international stage under the guidance of Tangawarima. “It was a big, big honour for the COSAFA zone and Victor did not disappoint,” Tangawarima told The COSAFA Show. “We are very happy with his performance. “Officiating in a Afcon final, with the whole world watching … he represented himself and South Africa very well.
“Gomes is a very intelligent referee and he listens. He did everything that he was advised to do on this big stage and he is very mature. He is a very good man-manager. He manages the players very well and has a sense of responsibility. That has helped him a lot. “The three match officials who were officiating, they are all products of our Under-17 competition. They have been through our age-group tournaments and now onto the world.” Also on this episode of The COSAFA Show, we hear from Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi ahead of their CAF Champions League pool stage opener against Al-Hilal on Friday, and Teko Modise tells us about the documentary on his career, DONA.
Finally, we also get the views from club bosses in the Zambian Super League as they look to de-link from the country’s football association.

Mhango Good Enough For Top European Leagues

Orlando Pirates and Malawi striker Gabadinho Mhango is good enough to play in top European leagues if he can bring consistency to his game, according to respected journalist Peter Kanjere.
Mhango was a revelation at the Africa Cup of Nations and his strike against Morocco in the round of 16 is a strong contender for Goal of the Tournament. Kanjere, who has watched the forward since he was 15, says it is an indication of the player’s abilities, even if it has come late in his career. “I have covered Gabadinho Mhango since he was 15 years old and playing in the second-tier of Malawian football with Gerald Phiri Jnr at Brave Warriors. That boy… I remember he came off the bench in the second half of a game and scored four goals,” Kanjere tells The COSAFA Show.
“The goal he scored against Morocco, I have seen that same type of strike from Mhango when he was playing in Malawi. So I am not surprised because he is a boy for the big occasion. He turns up when it matters.
“In terms of the skill, work-rate, and football intelligence, he should be at a world-class level. But I think he is oftentimes betrayed by his temperament and consistency. 
“What he has shown in the last few games is the Mhango that we knew before he left Malawi. But maybe because he has not been through the developmental stages, he is not consistent. 
“Unfortunately this is happening when he is at the age of 29. I wish he went to Afcon when he was 23 because I believe, on his day, he is unplayable and good enough for teams in top European leagues.”

Also on this edition of the podcast, we get the views of respected French journalist Frank Simon on how the COSAFA nations fared in Cameroon, and hear an inspirational speech from Football Association of Malawi President Walter Nyamilandu.

COSAFA General Secretary Sue Destombes Outlines Plans For 2022

In this special edition of The COSAFA Show, we hear from COSAFA General Secretary Sue Destombes, who reflects on the last 12 months for the organization and looks ahead to what is in store for 2022.
The last year was a tumultuous one with the COVID-19 pandemic, but COSAFA still managed to host six tournaments, giving junior and senior players a precious taste of international football. It was not without its challenges, and as Destombes explains there was the hope that there
would be more events, but for a variety of reasons, it was not possible.
There is one brand new competition proposed for 2022 that will add an extra dimension to the COSAFA calendar and open up yet more opportunities for players from the region. That was also the case with the inaugural COSAFA Women’s Champions League and the return of the beach soccer event last year. Destombes runs through the proposed calendar for 2022, and where and when the events are penciled to take place, including the flagship COSAFA Cup. She also shares her experiences so far of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon as part of the Confederation of African Football’s delegation.

Infantino Says Bi-Annual World Cup Will Be Good For Africa

FIFA President Gianni Infantino recently spoke to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Extraordinary General Assembly in Cairo where he outlined his vision for the global game and where Africa fits into it.
Infantino went through a range of topics, but one of the main points he wanted to get across was the benefit of hosting a FIFA World Cup every two years, or in the case of junior competitions, every year.
He believes it will provide an opportunity to players and for African countries especially, be a platform to drive improvements in their football. “Those who don’t qualify [for Qatar 2022] will have to wait another four years for the chance to play at the World Cup,” Infantino said. “We need to give more opportunities to all the teams to play against each other. “Whether it be the World Cup, or in another way, we have to study all of those. We need to offer more opportunities and chances for world football, for African football to shine on the
world stage. “This is valid for men’s and women’s football, as well as youth football, which is also part of the reform process. We really believe we need to have youth competitions every year and
not every two years. “Because with competitions every two years, if you are not born in the right month of the right year, you may have no opportunities to compete.” Infantino also spoke about the African Super League among various other topics. On this episode of The COSAFA Show, we also speak to former Bafana Bafana international
Mark Fish to find out what he is up, while we track down ex-Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Matty Pattison to hear his story and what his future plans are.

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