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Cosafa Cup changes format

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Alfred Gunda

Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) says the 2021 Cosafa Senior Men’s Cup will take a new format.

The competition, which will take place from July 7 to 18 in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, will attract 12 teams this year.

A statement from Cosafa indicates that the new format will see the 12 teams split into three groups each containing four teams.

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Each team will play a minimum of three matches. Group winner in each pool and the overall best runner-up will advance to the semifinals of the tournament.

Under the previous format, some top ranked teams could have been seeded from the group stages. There will be no Plate Competition this year.

Previously, defending champions, runners-up and third and fourth placed teams were seeded from the group stages alongside Plate winners and runner-up.

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The competition returns after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic. Meanwhile, the draw for this year’s tournament will take place tomorrow.

As of yesterday, 11 teams had confirmed their participation in this year’s tournament including hosts South Africa, defending champions Zambia, record six-time winners Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) General Secretary Alfred Gunda could not give the exact date when the Flames would regroup for the tournament.

“There are several issues which need to be looked into before we set the date for camping,” Gunda said.

The Flames, who finished as Plate Competition runners-up in 2019, will use the Cosafa Cup as part of preparations for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in September, October and November.

Football consultant Kelvin Moyo said the competition would give Flames coach Meck Mwase an opportunity to assess more players.

“He should choose the best players for the competition because he needs depth in the squad ahead of the Afcon finals,” Moyo said.

Comoros Islands, who qualified for Afcon finals for first time, will also take part in the competition alongside Mozambique, eSwatini, Mozambique, Lesotho and Namibia.

Number one ranked team in Africa, Senegal, will take part in the competition as a quest nation. However, Cosafa is yet to confirm the 12th team

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