The quarter finals for the 2013 Cosafa Castle Cup Senior Challenge gets underway this afternoon with a double header at Lusaka’s Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka.
Defending champions Zimbabwe will face off with the flames of Malawi in the first game at 13 hours while Gordon Igesund’s South Africa take on Namibia in a 15:00 hours kick off.
Zimbabwe who hosted the last edition four years ago will be up against a spirited Malawi side that is yet to win the regional championship.
The two sides last tested each other in an international friendly in May which ended 1-all in Blantyre.
Zimbabwe has kept faith in an all home based assemblage that has Chicken Inn striker Tendai Ndoro who is leading the scorers’ charts in the Zimbabwe league, veteran goalie Tafadzwa Dube who plays for Caps United and Lotie Chiunga who plays for Black Rhinos are the notables in the warriors set up.
Malawi coach Tom Sainfiet has carried a familiar line up with veteran Jimmy Zakazaka, Fischer Kondowe and Joseph Kamwendo carrying the hopes of the flames.
Malawi who have twice made the finals were booted out at the quarterfinals stage in the 2009 edition in Harare and will be looking to better their record this year.
In the second match of the day Namibia will come up against Bafana Bafana in a match Igesund must prove his heavily depleted side is still competitive for the regional tournament.
Igesund had to make the trip to Lusaka minus Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs players whose clubs refused to release them.
But the Bafana Bafana coach has insisted his team will still be competitive and has set winning the trophy as his target.
South Africa will look to the likes of Lerato Chabangu, Sibusiso Khumalo and Sibusiso Vilakazi to take his side to the next stage of the competition.
Winners will qualify to the quarter finals while losers will be relegated to the second tier competition where the losers will battle for the plate final.
Without extra time allocated for Cosafa the teams will go straight into a penalty shoot out.
Zimbabwe v Malawi (13:00 hours)
South Africa v Malawi (15:00 hours)