New Cosafa Cup tournament format unveiled

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The tournament will be played over two stages with 20 matches taking place from July 17 to August 2.

The preliminary group stage of the new-look Cosafa Challenge Cup will comprise of six teams, namely Namibia, Malawi, Madagascar, Swaziland, Lesotho, Seychelles, Mauritius and the Comoros Islands.

The six teams in the preliminary round will play each other on a round-robin basis, from July 17 to 19, with the top two qualifying for the final Last-8 knockout stage of that will run from July 24 to August 2.

There, they will be paired against the top six ranked teams of the Fifa rankings from the Cosafa zone who have been handed preliminary round byes.

The teams that have byes are defending champions South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Angola and Zimbabwe.

The 2008 Cosafa Cup will be played at three venues over with all preliminary group stage matches taking place in the Mpumalanga towns of Secunda and Witbank.

The last-8 knockout stages, quarterfinals and semifinals will be played on July 19 at Witbank and Thulamashe- the latter venue to hosts the final on August 2.

South Africa beat 2006 winners Zambia 4-3 on post-match penalties in the 2008 final after a scoreless draw played at Vodacom Park in Bloemfontein.

And the 2008 COSAFA Under-20 tournament will be held in Kimberley, South Africa from November 27 to December 7.

Draws to be made on June 20 at the tournament venue.

Zimbabwe are the defending champions after beating hosts South Africa 3-0 in the finals last December in Mpumalanga at Thulamashe.

In other news, Felix Katongo, Clifford Mulenga, Isaac Chansa, Roger Kola and Kennedy Mweene are all expected to leave for Teheran on Friday to join Zambia ahead of Sunday's friendly there against Iran.

Mulenga meanwhile, arrived in the country on Monday and has been training with the Zambia U20 team in camp in Lusaka.

All the players will leave for the middle-east on the same flight as the Zambia Under-20 team who will be heading to Saudi Arabia to play a friendly international against that country's Under-21 team.

19 players will comprise the Under-20 team after the withdrawal of Kola from the team.

Kola was the 20th member of the junior team after he was drafted into the senior side for the Iran match.

The Under-20 will play Saudi Arabia on Sunday evening and return home on Tuesday.

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