Cosafa Cup kicks off in Zambia

The Cosafa Castle Senior Challenge Cup gets underway on Saturday afternoon with a group stage clash between Mauritius and Namibia the first item on the menu
The Cosafa Cup kicks off at the Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka on Saturday afternoon, with Namibia and Mauritius opening up proceedings in a Group A clash.

Zambia has provided four venues for the Cosafa Cup 2013, with Lusaka, Kitwe and Ndola all set to host the 13 nations who will participate in the tournament.

The country is ready to host the tournament and is excited by the prospect of displaying its potential to host major African football events in the future.

The opening ceremony will precede Group A's opener between Namibia and Mauritius, with the Nambians heavy favourites to progress out of the group. 

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The tournament's tickets went on sale on Friday, with FA Zambia making tickets available in selected towns in the Southern African nation. FAZ has urged supporters to buy tickets as soon as possible due to the limited amount of seats available for the opening clash.  

Zimbabwe, Angola, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique will only enter the tournment in the quarterfinal stages. Before this seven teams will slug it out to join them during the group stages.

Many of the nations have not named their best array of talent for the tournament, especially South Africa, who had to replace 13 players in their initial squad named by coach Gordon Igesund.

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Defending champions Zimbabwe won the Cosafa Cup in 2009, but will face stiff competition in trying to defend their title with hosts Zambia wanting to reclaim the title on home soil.

Following their disappointing defence of their 2012 Africa Cup of Nations crown, Chipolopolo are intent on pleasing their supporters, who have suffered since the team's stunning success in Gabon. Zambia are all but out of 2014 World Cup qualification, placing immense pressure on the shoulders of coach Herve Renard.  

Kenya will participate in the tournament for the first time in 2013, with a young generation of Kenyan talent set to take to the pitches in Zambia.

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