By Ameenu Shardow
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Ghana have been handed an invite to the 2014 COSAFA Cup to be staged in Botswana this September, GHANAsoccernet.com can exclusively reveal.
The Black Stars were drafted into the competition which is originally reserved for Southern African countries following the pullout of the Comoros Islands.
It is however the home-based Black Stars team that will be competing in the annual tournament due to the engagement of the A-team in 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in September.
COSAFA’s organising committee chairman Timothy Shongwe is delighted with the inclusion of Ghana as it will give the competition more weight and competitiveness.
‘We are delighted to have Ghana competing in Botswana and it is another sign of the high regard the rest of Africa places in the COSAFA Cup competition,’ he said.
‘Ghana are a powerhouse of the continent and have been the most successful African side at the last two World Cup tournaments, narrowly missing out on a place in the semi-finals in South African in 2010.
‘Players from Ghana are coveted by top European clubs and there is a good chance that we will see future superstars of the national team in Botswana later this year.
‘It will be a huge test for our Southern African sides to take on the Black Stars, but that is just the type of competition we are looking for to help develop the game in the region.’
Ghana is likely to begin its maiden campaign in the COSAFA Cup at the quarter final stage due to its relative high position in the FIFA rankings.
The competition will give needed exposure to the home-based Black Stars players who won silver at this year’s CHAN tournament in South Africa.
Ghana will be coming up against crack Southern African sides such as Zambia, Angola and South Africa.
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