I have learned something by chance about Hilton College’s 16-year-old first team soccer goalkeeper Constandino Christodoulou that has touched me deeply and says a lot about this young man in the making. At the age of 3 Costi lost his mom to cancer. Before each match, grade 10 schoolboy Costi says a prayer in honour of his mother. Her initials are on his goalkeeper gloves.
Clearly Costi lives by the Hilton College motto, Orando et Laborando (by Prayer and Work).
KZN10.com wishes Costi and the South African U17 football team all the best for the COSAFA U17 Cup from this Friday’s opening match to the Sunday 29 July final. Costi and Team SA flew to tournament host country Mauritius Sunday, arrived Monday and had MRI scans in order to ensure age eligibility.
Players born 1 January 2002 or later are eligible to participate in the competition.
Go to the COSAFA website www.cosafa.com for a lot of information on the Council of Southern African Football Associations’ take on the COSAFA U17 Cup – the AFCON 2019 Qualifier tournament, as well as on the SAFA website www.safa.net … there will be constant updates and article on the SAFA website.
LIVE COMMENTARY ON THE SA U17 GAMES on their twitter handle @SAFA_net
2018 COSAFA Under-17 Championship fixtures and SA TIME kick-off:
Friday 20/07: vs Lesotho – 13h30 – Auguste Vollaire Stadium
Sunday 22/07: vs Mozambique – 10h00 – Auguste Vollaire Stadium
Tuesday 24/07: vs Zambia – 13h00 – St Francois Xavier Stadium
So it’s the 12 Southern African countries… 4 per group, so 3 groups… Costi and Team SA in Group B with Lesotho, Mozambique and defending champions Zambia… the winners of each group progress to the semi-finals along with the best-placed 2nd team from the 3 groups.
If SA win they qualify for the African Youth Cup Finals event in Tanzania next year and the champs in Tanzania plus the three other semi-finalists go to The 2019 Big Show – the 18th biennial Fifa U17 World Cup Finals competition in host country Peru from October 5 to 19.
England U17 are the defending world champions.
Last word from Costi: “Thank you so much, Sir, I really appreciate KZN10.com showing such interest in the SA U17 team… it’s all up to us now, we’ve prepared well and have it all going for us.”
You go Costi. KZN10.com says one more time: “Bring it home Team SA we want to see you in Tanzania next year – and in Peru for the Biggest of Big Shows when it comes to U17 world football.”
Notes of interest
* SA U17 won the Cosafa Cup in 1992 and 2004.
* Last time out the SA boys finished fourth.
* South Africa have been the most successful side in COSAFA Under-17 Championship history with two winners medals and runners-up in 2001 and 2016.
* Last year in Mauritius SA lost 2-0 to their hosts and had to settle for fourth place after losing to Malawi in the bronze-medal match.
* They did make the final two years ago, when the championships were also staged in Mauritius, but were surprise losers to Namibia on penalties in the decider.
* South Africa are one of only two COSAFA nations, the other being Malawi, to reach the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, which they managed in 2015 when it was hosted in Chile.
* They managed just a single point in the pool stages though as they were edged 2-1 by Costa Rica, before drawing 1-1 with North Korea. They then lost 2-0 to Russia to exit at the first stage.
* South Africa’s previous successes in the COSAFA U17 Championship came when they beat Mozambique 2-1 some 24 years ago, before they edged Swaziland into first place in 2001 when the competition was decided on points.
* They also have three visits to the African U17 Championship, finished fourth in 2005 and second in 2015.
* The SA side will be coached again by long-time mentor Molefi Ntseki, who also took the side to Chile three years ago.