Flames have been drawn alongside neighbours Zambia in the group stages of the 2021 COSAFA Cup that will be staged in Port Elizabeth, South Africa from July 7-18.
The two teams are in group B that also includes Madagascar and Comoros.
Six-time winners Zimbabwe are in group D alongside guests Senegal, Mozambique and Namibia. Hosts South Africa headline Group A that includes Lesotho, Botswana and Eswatini.
Only the top team in each group and the best placed runner-up will advance to the semifinals in what is a change in formation for the tournament this year.
Reacting to the draw, Flames Assistant Coach Lovemore Fazili said their group is fair and they just have to prepare well for the tournament.
“We are very happy to be in the same group with Zambia. But they are not the only tough opponent. There is Comoros and Madagascar to take care of. So, we will prepare very well for all opponents,” said Fazili.
He said the tournament is very important to the Flames as it will give them a platform to prepare for upcoming competitive matches.
“There is pressure for us to win this tournament for the first time. But for us it is an opportunity to gauge ourselves ahead of the World cup qualifiers and AFCON,” he said.
On the players that will feature for the tournament Fazili said: “We don’t expect to have more foreign based players as the competition does not fall on FIFA dates. So, we will take more local players and this is an opportunity to asses them if they can be part of the AFCON project.”
The COSAFA Cup is making a comeback after the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.