Big weekend for COSAFA sides!

This past weekend saw all of the teams taking part in the COSAFA Castle Cup in Namibia from June 11-25 in action in African Nations Cup qualifiers, giving a hint as to their readiness for the regional showpiece event.

COSAFA Castle Cup hosts Namibia warmed up for the tournament with a 1-0 victory over Niger in their Nations Cup qualifier.

Peter Shalulile scored the only goal of the game midway through the first half, with the match played at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek, which will host the COSAFA Castle Cup final on June 25.

Zimbabwe booked their place at a first Nations Cup finals in a decade as they won 3-0 at home to fellow COSAFA side Malawi.

They now have an unassailable lead at the top of their pool ahead of Swaziland, who could yet qualify as one of the best runners-up after they claimed an excellent 1-0 win over Guinea.

That result shows they will be a real force in Namibia later this month.

Winners in 2012, Zambia failed to qualify for the Nations Cup finals after a 3-2 loss to Guinea-Bissau, a game in which they twice came from behind.

In Group B it was a rough weekend for both Madagascar and Angola as they lost their qualifiers.

The Malagasy went down 6-1 to fellow 2016 COSAFA Castle Cup entrants DR Congo, who have booked their place in the finals in Gabon.

DR Congo are guests at the COSAFA Castle Cup this year after the withdrawal of Comoros Islands.

Botswana missed out on qualification after a 2-1 home loss to Uganda, while the Comoros were beaten 1-0 at home by Burkina Faso.

Mozambique warmed up for the 2016 COSAFA Castle Cup with an excellent 3-2 away victory over Rwanda, even if their hopes of reaching Gabon had already been dashed.

Mauritius battled bravely in a 2-0 loss at home to a powerful Ghana but can be proud of their effort.

Seychelles went down 2-0 to leading African side Algeria, while Lesotho lost 2-1 at home to Ethiopia.

Finally, South Africa claimed their biggest ever away victory when they won 4-0 in Gambia. Bafana Bafana were, however, still eliminated from qualifying.