cosafa cup a boon

Richard Nkosi

Richard Nkosi

Newly appointed Swaziland coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba said advancing beyond the group stages of the Cosafa Senior Challenge will boost team spirits in preparation for their do-or-die 2010 World Cup-Africa Cup of Nations Group 11 qualifier against Togo.

Isihlangu Semnikati, the Swaziland national soccer squad, will get the Cosafa games under way tomorrow when they engage Madagascar at Atlantic Stadium in Witbank in their Group A encounter.

Kickoff is at 3pm.

"Our preparations for the Cosafa are going well. We have only two players, who I cannot mention, who are being treated for minor injuries," said Mashaba.

He said they are looking to go far in the Challenge, if not to the final.

"This will be a good boost ahead of our game against Togo," said Mashaba.

Ironically, Mashaba was in charge of Bafana Bafana when they triumphed in the Cosafa Challenge in 2000 and has set his sights on success again with his new team.

Togo will host Swaziland on October 10 in the last pool game in Group 11 of the qualifiers. Swaziland lead the group on four points, level with Zambia but with a better goal difference.

Togo are bottom of the three-team group on three points after two games played, with one match in hand. Only one team from Group 11 will qualify for the Afcon finals and the final World Cup group qualifying stage.

Meanwhile, Madagascar have named five foreign-based players in their squad for the Cosafa Challenge. Coach Franck Rajaonarisamba, appointed to the post just weeks ago, will name Claudio Ramiadamanana (Mueang Thong NongJork United, Thailand); Johan Paul (Pau FC, France); Lalaina Nomenjanahary, Pascal Razakanantenaina and Praxis Rabemananjara (all Pamplemousse, Maurice) in his squad.

Mauritius play Seychelles in another Cosafa Group A encounter at 5.30pm, also at Atlantic Stadium.

Group B fixtures (Lillian Ngoyi Stadium in Secunda): Malawi v Lesotho (3pm); Namibia v Comores (5.30pm).

Entrance to the games will be R10 for adults and R5 for kids.