By Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Warriors will face a tough test of character at next month’s COSAFA Cup after being drawn in the same group with Africa’s top-ranked nation Senegal.
The regional tournament will be played in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Senegal, who are affectionately known as the Lions of Teranga will make their debut appearance in the COSAFA Cup this year after accepting an invitation from the organisers and will use the tournament to prepare for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
The West African side were among the teams that were in the COSAFA Cup draw conducted Thursday ahead of the tournament which will run from July 7 to 18 at Nelson Mandela Bay.
Senegal will start their campaign in Group C alongside record six-time champions Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia.
Hosts South Africa are in Group A, which also has Lesotho, Eswatini, and Botswana. Defending champions Zambia, who won the last edition in 2019, lead Group B and will face Malawi, Madagascar, and Comoros.
The top team from each group advances to the semi-finals. They will be joined in the last four by the best second-placed teams from the three groups.
Zimbabwe will be using the tournament as a preparatory event for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers slated for September.
However, the Warriors’ participation is in doubt following the government’s suspension of sporting disciplines such as football and mass gatherings due to a rise of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Football was not included on the list of 24 sports codes classified as low-risk that were given the green light to resume their activities by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) in compliance with strict Covid-19 containment measures.
The SRC, however, said it is in liaison with sports codes not appearing on the approved list but have critical domestic or international commitments, and the concerns will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
COSAFA Cup draw
Group A: South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana
Group B: Zambia, Malawi, Madagascar, Comoros
Group C: Senegal, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique