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SA & Namibia draw while Botswana win Group A opener

Hosts South Africa and neighbours Namibia played to a 1-1 draw in their opening Group A match at the 2023 Hollywoodbets Cosafa Cup played at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban on Wednesday.   

Botswana lead the pool following the first round of matches after they beat Eswatini 1-0 in the opening game of the day, an exciting start to the regional championship on a chilly night that was warmed by the enthusiasm of the crowd.

Bafana Bafana and the Brave Warriors then played to a hard-fought stalemate in which Elmo Kambindu gave Namibia the lead just before halftime.   He was left unmarked at the back post and had the simplest of headed chances to put his side in front. 

But the home team were back on level terms just after the break when Rowan Human scored his first international goal having been teed-up from 18-yards. He produced a thunderous finish. 

Elmo Ukondja Kambindu of Namibia is challenged by Lyle Lakay of South Africa during their 2023 Hollywood Bets Cosafa Cup match at King Zwelithini Stadium, Umlazi on the 05 July 2023. BackpagePix

South Africa pushed for the winner after that but neither side could find a second goal.  

Botswana claimed a 1-0 victory over Eswatini in the opening game in the pool that was an entertaining encounter largely dominated by The Zebras.   The only goal of the game was scored midway through the first half by Lebogang Ditsele, who had a simple side-footed finish from 10 yards. 

Both sides had chances after that, but Botswana held firm for what could be an important three points.

Defending champions Zambia will be in action in Group B on Thursday as they open their campaign with a tough clash against old foes Malawi (kick-off 18h00 CAT).
It is a battle for the ages between two top teams, but as Zambia chase a record seventh Cosafa Cup title, they are perhaps the slight favourites under stand-in coach Moses Sichone.  

The teams have met on eight previous occasions in the Cosafa Cup and Zambia have four wins, to go with two draws and two victories for The Flames.

Those wins for Malawi came in Blantyre in 2002 and Phokeng in 2015, and the only meeting since that game eight years ago was a 2-2 draw in Durban in 2019.

In the opening game of the day, there is a battle of the island nations as Seychelles tackle Comoros.

Seychelles have still won only one of their previous 31 Cosafa Cup games, which was an extraordinary 7-0 success against Mauritius in 2008.  

In three clashes against Comoros, they have a draw (1-1 in 2018) and two defeats – both by 2-1 scorelines in 2009 and 2022. 

All matches will be streamed live to a global audience on Fifa+ and you can follow a behind the scenes look at the tournament on our various platforms.