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Flames face Zambia in Cosafa Cup

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George Kaudza Masina

Flames assistant coach Lovemore Fazili says he relishes the match against Zambia after the two sides were drawn together in this year’s Cosafa Cup slated for July 7 to 18 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The draw for this year’s regional showpiece took place Thursday in South Africa. Malawi and Zambia have been paired in Group B alongside Comoros Islands and Madagascar.

Fazili described the draw as tough.

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“We have been looking forward to this draw. We will play to win the match against them. But we are not only focusing on Zambia because Comoros and Madagascar are also very good teams so we will prepare for them,” Fazili said.

The Flames and Zambia last met in the 2019 Cosafa Cup quarterfinals and Malawi gave away a two-goal lead to lose the match 4-2 on post-match penalties after a 2-2 stalemate in regulation time.

Sports analyst George Kaudza-Masina said it was a tricky draw.

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“The Cosafa Cup will give us a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of our team. Zambia and Comoros are very tricky teams so Mwase has a tough task,” Kaudza-Masina said.

Only group winners in each group and one best-runner-up will progress to the semifinals of the competition.

The Cosafa Cup returns this year under a new format after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.

Each team will play a minimum of three matches. Malawi, 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.

The Flames have never won the Cosafa Cup since its inception. Zimbabwe has won it six times followed by Zambia, five times. South Africa has won it four times whereas Angola and Namibia have won it three times and once, respectively.

Group A comprises South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and eSwatini whereas Group C has guest nation Senegal, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia.

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