There has been a late change to the fixtures for the 2021 COSAFA Cup after Comoros were forced to pull out of the competition due their government’s restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic.
Comoros was drawn in Group B alongside defending champions Zambia, Malawi, and Madagascar, with their absence now leaving three teams remaining in the pool for the regional showpiece competition that will be staged in Nelson Mandela Bay from July 6-18.
It means Madagascar will take on Malawi in the opening game of the group on Wednesday (kick-off 15h00 SAST), with the Malagasy to then meet Zambia in the second game on July 10 (15h00).
The final pool match will be played on July 13 between Zambia and Malawi, which could be a potential decider for top spot.
Only the top team in each of the three groups will advance to the semifinals, along with the best-placed runner-up.
In order to level the playing field in the calculation for that best runner-up position, the results against the bottom sides in the four-team Groups A and C will be discarded. This is only to determine the best runner-up across the pool, the winners of each group will be decided using all games.
The other fixtures in the competition remain the same, with the action will get under way on Tuesday as Eswatini meet Lesotho in Group A (14h00). Later, hosts South Africa will play Botswana (17h00).
The first matches in Group C will be played on Thursday when six-time winners Zimbabwe tackle Mozambique (12h00) and west African guest nation Senegal face Namibia (15h00).
The group stages will end on July 14, with the semifinal matches to be played two days later. The competition final and third-place play-off will be staged on July 18.