Ghana now assume the mantle of favourites for the Cosafa Cup after the field was decimated in recent days and the outcome of the southern African championship throw wide open.
Ghana, coming in as guests, play Madagascar in the first of Monday’s quarter-final double-header attraction at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, followed by the last of the last eight games between neighbours Malawi and Mozambique.
Sunday’s opening two quarter-final encounters at the tournament in the North West Province saw holders Zambia and hosts South Africa eliminated after both failed to overcome weaker opponents and were beaten in post-match penalty shootouts.
Botswana edged Bafana while Namibia, who had earlier accounted for four-time winners Zimbabwe, continued their giant killing by sending Zambia packing.
The Black Stars, who have sent a home-based squad to South Africa, are expecting a difficult match against the Indian Ocean islanders who pipped Swaziland for top place in Group B last Friday by the narrowest of margins.
“It won’t be easy. The southern part of Africa has a unique style of play and they have talents in abundance here”, said Ghana’s coach Maxwell Konadu.
“We have brought young guys who we know have a good future. They are here to have a feel of the competition and to show what they can also do”.
“It may not be our main national team but this team is also very formidable and talented”.
It will be Madagascar fourth match in a week at the tournament.
Malawi will be without talismanic midfielder Robert Ngambi, suffering from a hamstring injury, and left out Frank Mhango of Bloemfontein Celtic but included seven players from clubs outside Malawi.
Mozambique are also making their entry into the tournament at the quarter-final stage, but might have to do with captain Elias Pelembe (Dominquez) of Mamelodi Sundowns who has asked time off to deal with family problems.
The winner of the Ghana-Madagascar match takes on Namibia in the first semifinal at the Moruleng Stadium on Thursday followed by Botswana against either Malawi or Madagascar.
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