By Mercy Chewe
Organisers have been forced to revise the format of the 2021 COSAFA Cup following the late withdrawal of Madagascar from the regional competition.
The COSAFA Cup which will now have two groups of five teams each after Madagascar failed to travel to Nelson Mandela Bay for the July 6-18 tournament days after Comoros Islands withdrew from the competition.
COSAFA has since conducted a draw to place Zambia and Malawi in the new respective Groups A and B.
The draw placed defending champions Chipolopolo in Group A together with hosts South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.
That means Malawi will be in the ‘new’ Group B, which also contains West African guest nation Senegal, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Mozambique.
Zambia’s opening Group A match is against Lesotho this Thursday at Isaac Wolfson Stadium before facing Eswatini two days later at the same venue.
Chipolopolo’s third group is against Botswana on July 13 before concluding pool action against hosts South Africa 24 hours later.
Meanwhile, the top two teams from each of the two groups will advance to the semifinals.