The Flames have been drawn against neighbours Zambia’s Chipolopolo in Group B of the 2023 Cosafa Cup scheduled for Durban, South Africa from July 5 to 16.
This follows a draw held in Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday. The other teams in the group are Seychelles and Comoros.
Group A , which has hosts South Africa’s Bafana Bafana, Namibia’s Brave Warriors, e-Swatini’s Sihlangu and Botswana’s Zebras appears to be the group of death while Group C has Mozambique’s Mambas, Angola’s Neglas Palancas, Mauritius’ Club M and Lesotho’s Likuena.
The Malawi National Football Team will be making their 22nd attempt to win the regional showpiece.
Reacting to the draw in an interview yesterday, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu described it as tricky.
He said: “We are renewing our rivalry with Zambia.
“Tricky group because Comoros are no pushovers. We have to top the group to qualify for the semi-finals.
Flames coach Patrick Mabedi was not available for comment yesterday.
But football pundit Kevin Moyo said Zambia could stand in the Flames’ way.
He said: “On the surface, it is a fair draw though Zambia has always been a hard nut to crack for us.”
Zambia, who are joint highest winners of the tournament with Zimbabwe’s Warriors, having won it six times apiece, could be the Flames’ stumbling block.
The top side in each pool will advance to the semi-finals along with the best-placed runner-up.
This year’s tournament will give vital game-time for players and coaches to teams still in the qualifiers for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations finals and provide much- needed international exposure for those out of the running.
The semi-finals are scheduled for July 14 and the final and third-place play-off will be staged at the King Zwelithini Stadium two days later.
It is a departure from the previous format in which there were two groups of four teams and another six sides entered at the quarter-final stage. There will also be no Plate competition this year.
The new format ensures each team will play a minimum of three games up to a maximum of five over the course of the competition. It also allows for an extra days’ rest between most pool games, a boost for player welfare.
The draw followed a Cosafa Annual General Meeting held at the Sandton Sun in Johannesburg where Nyamilandu was in attendance.
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