Malawi replaced with guest nation Kenya at the COSAFA Cup 2024

The Harambee Stars, winners of Malawi 4-Nations Tournament in March

* Sports Council has since lifted the temporary suspension of the sporting activities today, June 18

* Long after COSAFA went on to make its draw and invited Kenya as a guest nation

Maravi Express

Malawi national team, which was withdrawn from the COSAFA Cup 2024 following the temporary suspension of sports activities in order to observe the mourning and burial of late Vice-President Saulos Chilima and eight others, have been replaced with Kenya as guest nation.


Football Association of Malawi (FAM) made the decision to withdraw the Flames after Council of Confederation of Southern Africa Football Association (COSAFA) brought forward the dates of the tournament for June 26-July 7 — a decision that was made on Thursday, June 13, which was five days before Chilima’s burial.

And it was also a day before the burial of former First Lady Madame Patricia Shanil Dzimbiri, who died together with Chilima’s in the plane crash on June 10 — thus considering the sorrowful atmosphere FAM made the painful decision to withdraw team.

FAM also took into consideration the 21-day mourning period declared by President Lazarus Chakwera, which followed an advice from Malawi National Council of Sports to all associations to temporarily suspend all sports activities in respect of the mourning period.

FAM said it highly considered it insensitive to proceed with their preparations and subsequent participation at the COSAFA “as a way of showing respect to the souls of the people who lost their lives in the tragedy”.

However, Sports Council has since lifted the temporary suspension of the sporting activities today, June 18 — long after COSAFA went on to make its draw and invited Kenya as a guest nation.

The official draw was concluded on Friday, June 14 in Johannesburg for the 23rd edition of the regional competition that has three groups of 12 nations — South Africa, Mozambique, eSwatini, Botswana (Group A); Zambia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Kenya (Group B) and Angola, Namibia, Comoros and Seychelles (Group C).

On its website, COSAFA indicates that Kenya will be making their second COSAFA Cup appearance having debuted in 2013 when they went out in the group stages and pits the match between the East African guest against Zambia — reigning champions and record seven-time winners — as a heavyweight clash.

Zambia, reigning champions

Kenya will be the fifth highest ranked side at the tournament and COSAFA takes cognizance that the Harambee Stars have made a solid start to their FIFA World Cup 2026 qualification campaign with a win and two draws from their four games played.

For the second year in a row, the COSAFA Cup will kick-off with a clash between eSwatini and Botswana, a repeat of last year’s opener where a goal from Lebogang Ditsele helped Botswana to a 1-0 win.

Hosts South Africa will meet Mozambique in the second Group A clash at the same venue — “that is sure to be a feisty tie between the neighbours, and a fascinating fixture between two sides who love to attack,” as predicted by COSAFA website.

Zimbabwe return to the prestigious regional showpiece competition for the first time since 2021 and open their Group B campaign against Comoros on June 27.

In Group C will be an encounter between last year’s beaten finalists Lesotho taking on Seychelles while Angola face-off against Namibia at 18h00.

The final round of group games will be played simultaneously with the semifinals scheduled for July 5 Thole third place and the will both be on July 7.


With seven titles to their name, Zambia will also aim to become the first team to win three COSAFA Cup titles in a row in the history of the competition while other nations with impressive titles include Zimbabwe (6), South Africa (5) and Angola (3).

The tournament — though specified for domestic league players — will also afford the COSAFA members as strength-testing ahead of Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Morocco 2025 qualifiers, which are scheduled to kick-off September 2024.

Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) announced last week that the draw for the road to Morocco 2025 would be held on Thursday, July 4 in Johannesburg, South Africa and on the cards for the draw of the journey towards the 35th edition will be 48 nations — including the four winners from the preliminary round (Chad, eSwatini, Liberia and South Sudan) — to be drawn into 12 groups of four teams each to determine top two for the finals.

Headlining the confirmed nations for the draw are reigning African champions Côte d’Ivoire joined by usual favorites ahead of the finals such as North Africans Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria; West African Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal.

The others include Benin, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé e Principe, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.—Reporting by COSAFA Online & CAFonline; editing by Maravi Express