Durban - In what will be music to the ears of participating teams, the COSAFA Cup will feature new rules in the upcoming tournament that gets underway in Durban from July 5-17.
The capacity of squads have been increased from 20-23 players and furthermore, teams will be allowed to make five substitutions in each match.
“The COSAFA Executive Committee and Organizing Committee for Competitions took the decision to increase the squad sizes for the teams to 23. The squads had previously been limited to 20 players but in line with the Confederation of African Football (CAF) practice of allowing 23 members at their major competitions, COSAFA have followed suit,” COSAFA said in a statement.
The tournament featuring Southern African nations and guest nation Senegal is used as a developmental platform for up and coming talent to showcase their potential. The new rules mean that they will be able to grant more players opportunities to play in the tournament.
While Senegal are reigning African Cup of Nations (AFCON) Champions and will be playing in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar later this year, they too will feature a young squad that will not contain any of their stars who are set to play in the World Cup.
Bafana Bafana are expected to be led by David Notoane and not Hugo Broos at the tournament. The Bafana squad for the event is made up of mainly young fringe Premiership players and others who ply their trade in the GladAfrica Championship (second tier of South African football).
South Africa won last year's edition of the tournament under the captaincy of AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa and will begin their 2022 COSAFA Cup campaign with their quarter-final clash against Mozambique at the Princess Magogo Stadium on Wednesday, July 13.
The increase in allowed substitutions also comes amidst professional leagues across the World making such changes.
Since the inception of the COSAFA Cup in 1997, Bafana Bafana have won the tournament five times. They will be among the favourites to win this year’s edition and should they do so, they will equal Zimbabwe’s record of having won it six times.