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Zimbabwe bids to host 2009 COSAFA Cup

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By LWAZI DLAMINI - SWAZI TIMES -16-Jul-2009

MBABANE – After South Africa’s Mpumalanga Provincial government’s withdrawal, Zimbabwe has made a sensational bid to host the 2009 COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup, the Times Sports Desk.

The bid to host the 2009 COSAFA Senior Challenge Cup was made by Zimbabwean Football Association (ZIFA), working in tandem with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority who believe that this could be a big public relations coup for the country in its bid to attract visitors ahead of the 2010 World Cup showcase.

To host the annual soccer tournament, Zimbabwe needs to secure US$700 000 (about E5.6 million), which is needed to cover the cost of running the region’s flagship football tournament in either September or October this year. The country will also have to provide on top of the sponsorship package accommodation, transport and food for the participating teams and acceptable venues for the big tournament.

According to a report carried by Zimbabwe’s daily newspaper, the Herald, just having about a dozen senior national teams, camped in Zimbabwe for a week or so in the battle for the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup, will be a massive boost for the campaign to convince the world that the country has the capacity to host big football contingents. Poland have already confirmed that they will camp in Zimbabwe, should they qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals while Fifa president Sepp Blatter is also due to visit this country before the showcase in South Africa. Now, focus has been turned to the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup and a number of high-profile meetings have since been lined up that will feature the Zifa and ZTA leadership, the local business community and the executive arm of the regional football leadership. The first Indaba is scheduled for Harare this week. Zifa president Wellington Nyatanga last month confirmed his association’s willingness to host the tournament in a letter to the Cosafa chief operations officer.

“Further to the Cosafa Executive meeting held in Johannesburg concerning the Cosafa Senior Challenge Tournament, the Zimbabwe Football Association is pleased to advise you that the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is in agreement to partner Zifa in hosting the Cosafa Senior Challenge Tournament in Zimbabwe,” wrote Nyatanga. “We now await your decision for authority to host the tournament and also the budget thereof. Please find attached a copy of the letter from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, which is self-explanatory. We hope and trust that our bid to host the tournament will be successful.”

COSAFA Chairman of the Organising Committee, Timothy Shongwe confirmed that Zimbabwe have shown great interest in hosting the tournament and had made an official bid. “We did receive their request to host the tournament but we need some guarantees before we consider giving them the right to host the tournament. Good thing is that they are being backed by their government,” Shongwe said. He said the tournament is scheduled for the first week of October. “We are waiting on them to come back to us after they have satisfied all the areas we highlighted,” Shongwe said.


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