MASERU – South Africa were yesterday named the new hosts for the Caf Under-20 Youth Championships.
The eight-team tournament will now begin on April 17 with the final set for May 2.
The championship was initially penciled in for Libya starting tomorrow but was postponed following a bloody uprising against Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi which began last month.
Libya has not known any peace since the demonstrations that called for the ouster of Gadaffi who has been in power for the past 41 years.
Caf president Issa Hayatou confirmed that the tournament was being moved to South
“We have decided to move the African Youth Championship to South Africa and it will be played from April 17 to May 2,” Hayatou said yesterday.
The decision to move the tournament to South Africa could boost Lesotho’s chances in the tournament.
It also means South Africa will now sneak into the tournament through the back door.
The South African Under-20 national team failed to qualify for the tournament after they were knocked out, incidentally, by Lesotho.
This means Lesotho will now play against South Africa, Mali and Egypt in the group stages of the tournament.
In an earlier interview, Safa spokesperson, Morio Sanyane, told the Lesotho Times that
South Africa were ready to host the tournament.
“We’ve just hosted a successful World Cup and the African Women Championships recently.
“That shows South Africa is ready and has the right personnel and infrastructure to host the games,” Sanyane said.
Lesotho Football Association (Lefa) facilities and administration manager Mokhosi Mohapi said Lefa were aware of the developments.
“As you can see it is just a press conference and nothing official has been delivered to our desk,” Mohapi said.
Lesotho Under-20 team manager Khiba Mohoanyane however said hosting the tournament in South Africa would present an advantage to Lesotho.
“Lesotho will be more advantaged . . . because of the same atmosphere and a feel of being home,” Mohoanyane said.
“Supporters will also be able to follow the team in South Africa to provide moral support since its closer home.” he said.