COSAFA champions Zambia have been drawn in Group B alongside Malawi, Seychelles and Comoros at the 2023 COSAFA Cup to held in the South African coastal city of Durban from July 5-16.
The new format will see 12 teams take part, split into three groups of four sides, with the three pool winners and the best runner-up advancing to the semifinals.
Hosts South Africa will face Namibia, Eswatini and Botswana while Group C has Mozambique, Angola, Mauritius and Lesotho.
The draw for the group stages took place after COSAFA’s Annual General Meeting in Johannesburg on Friday, May 26.
Group stage matches will be played from July 5-12, with the semifinals on July 14 and the final and third-place play-off to 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 quarterfinal stage. There will also be no Plate competition this year.
The new 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.