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Flames Withdraws from COSAFA Cup Amid National Mourning for VP Chilima

Flames Withdraws from COSAFA Cup Amid National Mourning for VP Chilima

The Football Association of Malawi announced Thursday it has withdrawn the national team, the Flames from this year's COSAFA Cup following the death of Vice President Saulos Chilima and 8 others in a plane crash in Monday morning.

In a press release, FAM said it was canceling Malawi's participation in the tournament scheduled for June 26 to July 7 in South Africa out of respect for the mourning period declared after Chilima's death.

"Considering the sorrowful atmosphere as the result of the tragic passing of the State Vice President...and the subsequent 21-day mourning period declared by the government, FAM highly considered it insensitive to proceed with our preparations and subsequent participation in the championship," the statement said.

Chilima and eight others died Monday morning when their plane crashed in the Chikangawa forest.

FAM said it plans to arrange series of international friendly matches to keep the national team prepared.

COSAFA Draw

Hosts South Africa and Botswana will lock horns yet again in the most played fixture in COSAFA Cup history when the prestigious regional tournament is staged from June 26-July 7.

The draw for the 12 teams pitted the neighbors together for the ninth COSAFA Cup tournament in a row, with Botswana yet to win outright in any of their 12 previous meetings.

Mozambique and Eswatini make up the other sides in what is sure to be a hotly contested Group A Record seven-time winners Zambia will be looking to become the first team to win three COSAFA Cup titles in a row and also face a fascinating set of fixtures in Group B, which puts them against old foes Zimbabwe and Comoros.

Last year’s runners-up Lesotho are in Group C along with three-time winners Angola, 2015 champions Namibia and Seychelles.
The pool games will be played from June 26-July 3, with the semifinals on July 5 and the final and third-place play-off to be staged two days later.

The format ensures each country 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 22 previous editions of the COSAFA Cup have seen some great performances and incredible games that have been written into the folklore of Southern African football, but only five nations can claim to have lifted the coveted trophy.

Zambia went back-to-back in 2023 and now sit along at the top of the list of most titles with seven. That is one more than Zimbabwe, with South Africa (five), Angola (three) and Namibia (one) the only other teams to claim regional glory.

Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana and Lesotho have all been finalists twice, but ended up on the losing side on both occasions. Two-time guest nation Senegal are the only other national to reach the decider but lost to South Africa in 2021.

THE 2024 COSAFA CUP DRAW

GROUP A
South Africa, Mozambique, Eswatini, Botswana

GROUP B
Zambia, Comoros, Zimbabwe

GROUP C
Angola, Namibia, Lesotho, Seychelles.

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Last modified on Thursday, 20/06/2024

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