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Flames in Cosafa double header

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THE 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup kicks-off at the Moruleng Stadium in South Africa’s North West province today with a doubleheader of matches that are sure to rocket the competition off to a thrilling start.

East African guest nation Tanzania will take on Malawi in the opening fixture at 3pm, seeking a first ever victory in what is now their third appearance in the Southern African regional championship.

Later, one of the pre-tournament favourites, Angola, will seek to put recent past disappointments behind them when they face Mauritius at 5:30pm.

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The tournament is celebrating 20 years in this campaign and so it is perhaps fitting that Tanzania, who also featured in the inaugural competition in 1997, return for another shot at the silverware.

Coach Salum Mayanga has selected a strong squad, including Qatar-based forward Elias Maguli and Thomas Ulimwengu, who plays in Sweden.

The two are the only foreignbased players as Mayanga casts an eye to the African Nations Championship qualifiers against Rwanda a week after the Cosafa final.

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Malawi were booted out of the qualifiers and Belgian coach Ronny van Geneugden had hoped to use a number of his foreign-based stars in this competition.

But as the tournament falls outside the Fifa calendar, Mozambican and South African clubs demanded their players back, leaving the Flames with an entirely home-based squad.

This will be second meeting between the two sides in the tournament, with the first in the inaugural competition in 1997.

The match finished 2-2 in Lilongwe after Tanzania had twice taken the lead through Idelphonce Amlima and Victor Bambo in the first half.

But goals from Lovemore Fazili and Jones Nkhwazi sealed a point for the Flames.

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