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Zimbabwe for Cosafa

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By Peter Kanjere:

Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Cup, the only international football competition which Malawi’s Flames have a remote chance of winning, might take place from May 19 to June 1 2019 in Zimbabwe, reports indicate.

There was no immediate confirmation from Cosafa secretariat but Zimbabwe’s leading newspaper, The Herald, Wednesday quoted Cosafa Secretary-General, Sue Destombes as hinting that the country would host the event.

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“So, it will be a two-week window between the end of the Cosafa Cup and the beginning of Afcon and we certainly hope that we have got several teams from the Cosafa region that have already qualified and will qualify in the last match to be played in March so that we have got a good offering to send to Egypt,’’ Destombes is quoted as saying in Wednesday’s edition of the newspaper.

The newspaper further hinted that the competition might be expanded to 16 teams from the current 14, suggesting that most guest participants might be accommodated.

The Herald interviewed Destombes as she arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday ahead of meetings between Cosafa and Zimbabwe Football Association board led by its new president Felton Kamambo.

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“For any country, as a government, one thing they can always take from hosting a tournament of this magnitude is good PR.

“I think it showcases the country, it gives an opportunity for the foreign media to come and cover the tournament and to see and experience for themselves and the country ends up with good exposure,” Destombes is quoted as saying.

More details about the actual venue of the regional football competition would emerge from an annual general meeting for Cosafa to which Football Association of Malawi (Fam) is affiliated.

Fam President, Walter Nyamilandu, was, as we went to press, yet to confirm if he was aware of the calendar of the 2019 Cosafa Cup. Zimbabwe are the defending champions.

The Flames bowed out of the 2017 and 2018 editions of the competition without registering a win in combined six games in which they scored once.

Malawi came closest to winning the championship in 2002 and 2003 when Dane Kim Splidsboel and Englishman Alan Gillet were in charge of the Flames, but lost by 4-1 margins over two legs to South Africa’s Bafana Bafana and the Warriors of Zimbabwe, respectively.

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