The 2019 COSAFA Cup will be staged in the South African coastal city of Durban from May 25-June 8, serving as vital preparation for the region’s Africa Cup of Nations-bound sides.

Zimbabwe were supposed to defend their title on the home soil but Zifa pulled out from hosting the tournament after the government refused to approve.

According to COSAFA website, the regional body’s president Phillip Chiyangwa confirmed the competition will return to South Africa again.

“We are delighted to host what we believe will be the best ever COSAFA Cup in Durban, a city steeped in sporting history with the most magnificent facilities,” said Chiyangwa.

“Apart from the prestige of being crowned regional champions, there is also much more for competing teams to play for this year, with not only the Africa Cup of Nations finals Egypt, but also the 2020 African Nations Championship qualifiers in July and August.

“At COSAFA we pride ourselves in the opportunities we give our nations to compete at the highest level, and to help develop our teams for continental action. “We extend our warmest thanks to SAFA and the eThekwini Municipality for partnering with us on this event and we are sure that all the teams will derive great benefit from their stay in South Africa.”

The semi-final and final of the tournament will be played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, with King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi and the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu to be used earlier in the competition.

The 2019 COSAFA Cup will be the first of six tournaments scheduled to be hosted by the regional body this year.