Saturday, July 13, 2024

The Cosafa 2024 in numbers

The 23rd edition of the COSAFA Cup will be staged from June 26-July 7 as the top sides in the region battle it out for the coveted trophy in what is a busy time for national teams with Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers coming later in the year. We add up the numbers on what is sure to be another thrilling tournament!

1 – Namibia’s triumph at the 2015 COSAFA Cup was their first in the competition and made them just the fifth country to lift the title in all. There are still only five previous winners. They could not add to that tally in 2022 as they narrowly lost 1-0 to Zambia after extra-time in the final. They also hosted the tournament for the first time in 2016.

2 – Mozambique (1997 & 2009), Eswatini (2016 & 2021) and South Africa (2013 & 2023) are the only sides to have won the bronze medal on more than one occasion. The Mambas might have won a third in 2022 but were defeated 4-2 on penalties by West African guest nation Senegal following a 1-1 draw. Mozambique also have two silvers to their name in 2008 and 2015, but never gold!

3 – Lesotho reached the COSAFA Cup semifinals for three tournaments in a row between 2017 and 2019 but come up short on each occasion. They finally broke that duck when they made a second final in 2023, losing to Zambia 1-0 in the decider. They finished third in 2018, and fourth in 2017 and 2019. They also reached the final in 2000 but lost both legs 3-0 to Zimbabwe and await their maiden trophy win.

4 – South Africa have lifted the Plate trophy the most times having done so three years in a row between 2017 and 2019, and then again in 2022. They finally got their hands on the real thing again when they lifted the main trophy in 2021, their fifth title win. There is no longer a Plate competition with a change in format of the competition.

4 – The most goals scored by a player in a single COSAFA Cup match is four by Seychelles striker Phillip Zialor in their 7-0 win over Mauritius in 2008.

4 – Zimbabwe’s Sunday Chidzambwa, who was given Lifetime Achievement recognition at the COSAFA Awards, is the most successful coach in COSAFA Cup history with four titles, won in 2005, 2009, 2017 and 2018. He has never been beaten outright in a COSAFA Cup match, having coached in 19 games.

5 – Eswatini have been to the semifinals of the COSAFA Cup on five occasions (1999, 2002, 2003, 2016 & 2021), but have yet to reach the final. They are one of five COSAFA sides never to have appeared in the decider along with the island nations of Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros.

6 – The disproportionately high number of own goals scored in Malawi’s favour in their COSAFA Cup history, three times by Angola (Moises, Fernando & Ito), once by Zimbabwe (Nyamupanedengu), one from Zambia (Katebe) and once by Namibia (Tjihero).

6 – The number of goals scored by Zimbabwe forward Ovidy Karuru at the 2017 COSAFA Cup, which saw him finish as top-scorer at the tournament and also claim the record for the most goals in a single competition.

6 – The number of guest nations that have appeared at the COSAFA Cup in the past. Tanzania lead the way with three appearances (1997, 2015 & 2018) and Senegal have had two (2021, 2022), while Kenya (2013), Ghana (2015), DR Congo (2016) and Uganda (2019) have also appeared. The Senegalese have the best finish after they were runners-up in 2021 and also finished third in 2022.

7 – The record number of COSAFA Cup titles won by Zambia. Chipolopolo have claimed the last two titles and are seeking to become the first team in history to get a hat-trick of victories in the prestigious regional competition. Next on the list is Zimbabwe with five wins. Zambia have also finished runners-up on six occasions, more than any other nation. Four of those runners-up medals came between 2004 and 2009, before they also picked up a silver medal in 2017 and 2018.

7 – The Seychelles stunned Mauritius 7-0 in the 2008 COSAFA Cup, which remains to this day the biggest ever margin of victory in the competition. It also remains the only ever victory for the island nation in the competition, having played 31 games so far!

7 – The number of teams that have appeared in every edition of the COSAFA Cup since it was first played in 1997 – Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia.

9 – The number of goals scored in the COSAFA Cup by Eswatini forward Felix Badenhorst. It is the most in the competition’s history and one more than Zimbabwe legend Peter Ndlovu.

9 – The number of nations that appeared in the first ever COSAFA Cup. There will be 12 teams competing at this year’s tournament.

11 – There have been 11 hat-tricks in the history of the COSAFA Cup, with no player able to score more than one. The last three of those hattricks have all come against Lesotho, including two in 2021.

12 – The number of matches it took before Zambia finally lost a COSAFA Cup match. The team won the first two competitions and were eventually beaten 1-0 by Angola in 1999.

15 – The age of Angolan goalkeeper Eduardo Bunga when he played in the 2016 COSAFA Cup!

18 – Zambia have reached the semifinals of the COSAFA Cup on the most occasions – 18 – and have made it through to the deciding match in 13 of those. Zimbabwe are the next moist frequent semifinalists with 12 appearances.

17 – Zimbabwe’s 2-0 loss to Namibia in 2021 ended a 17-game unbeaten run in the competition, the longest in COSAFA Cup history. The irony? Their previous defeat was also against Namibia in a surprise 4-1 loss 2015!

38 – The number of wins managed by Zimbabwe in their COSAFA Cup history, more than any other country.

70 – The number of matches played by Zambia in the history of the COSAFA Cup, the most by any side.

110 – The number of goals scored by Zimbabwe in the history of the COSAFA Cup, the most by any side.

1997 – The first year the tournament was staged, with Zambia ending as inaugural winners.

2008 – The year South Africa completed a notable feat – winning back-to-back COSAFA Cup titles. Only inaugural winners Zambia (1997 & 1998) and Zimbabwe (2017 & 2018) have managed to do the same, though it seems it happens a decade apart with South Africa in 2007 & 2008!


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