NEXT year’s Cosafa Cup will have a group system rather than a knockout format.
The number of matches in the compe
tition will increase but there will only be four weekends set aside for the event in 2005.
The change has been made to accommodate the entry of the Seychelles, who bring the total number of participants in the annual southern African championship to 13.
Organisers announced last Friday that 12 of the 13 participants are to be drawn in three groups of four teams each, with the three group winners advancing to the final group along with the defending champions Angola.
The groups will be decided at a single venue on a single weekend with the four sides paired into two semi-finals on the Saturday, with the winners proceeding to a final 24 hours later.
There will also be a third and fourth place play-off for the semi-final losers, meaning that each country is guaranteed at least two matches in the 2005 edition, albeit played on back-to-back days.
The draw for the make-up and venue for the first three groups will be made in mid-January although no firm date is yet set.
Organisers did say, however, that a seeding system based on the current Fifa rankings would be used, which means South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are likely to head the three groups.
All are previous winners of the event, although Angola last month became the first side to win the Cosafa Cup three times.
No dates have yet been set for the first matches of the 2005 edition but organisers expect it to be the last weekend of February. — BBC Sport.