. . . as Cosafa changes format
Rest Mutore, Sports Reporter
ZDRAVKO Logarusic is expected to be in the dugout when Zimbabwe face Mozambique in their 2021 Cosafa Cup opener after he was granted permission to enter South Africa.
The Warriors face the Mambas at Wolfson Stadium at 12pm.
The Croat was on Monday denied entry into South Africa after arriving at the OR Tambo Airport without a visa.
Zifa, who faced criticism over the gaffe, yesterday announced that the Warriors coach has since been cleared.
“Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic has been granted visa to travel to South Africa for the 2021 COSAFA CUP,” said Zifa in a statement.
The development comes after Cosafa announced a change in format which saw Zimbabwe getting an additional opponent – Malawi – in their group.
They were initially drawn against Mozambique, Senegal and Namibia.
The withdrawal of Madagascar yesterday, however, meant the tournament will now have two groups – with the Warriors now in Group B.
The Malagasy national team’s withdrawal comes just two days after Comoros also pulled out citing tough restrictions of Covid-19 in their country.
“The late withdrawal of Madagascar from the Cosafa Cup has forced a change to the format of the competition, which will now have two groups of five teams each,” Cosafa said in a statement.
“Madagascar had been unable to secure their travel to Nelson Mandela Bay for the July 6-18 tournament which, following the decision of Comoros Islands not to come, left the original Group B with only Zambia and Malawi.
“And so, the original format of a three-group competition has been simplified into two pools, with the top two nations in each group advancing to the semi-finals.
“Cosafa conducted a draw to place Zambia and Malawi in the new respective Groups A and B, doing so in the presence of representatives for the 10 remaining teams and the local organising committee.
“The draw placed defending champions Zambia in Group A along 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.”
While the fixtures for Group A remain unchanged yesterday, the other team are in action today with Senegal facing Namibia at 3pm.
“The opening matches in the old Group C will now be played on Wednesday and will see Mozambique tackle Zimbabwe at the Wolfson Stadium at 12h00, and Senegal meet Namibia at the same venue at 15h00.
“The competition will continue in a round-robin format until each team has played four matches. With sides only guaranteed three games under the previous three-group tournament format, an added fixture will no doubt be welcomed by coaches.”