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Who are the 14 teams at the 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup?

The 14-team field is now complete for the 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup to be staged in South Africa’s North West province from June 25-July 9 with a fantastic line-up that is a mix of styles.

Fans can look forward to the best of Southern Africa going head-to-head, with guest nation Tanzania adding some East African flair.

Here is a run-down on the 14 competing nations.

ANGOLA
Past wins (3): 1999, 2001, 2004
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
37        15        11        11        38        34
Angola brought a very young side to the 2016 COSAFA Castle Cup but will return this year to try and add another title to the three they have already won. The Palancas Negras are one of the powerhouses of the region and will be among the favourites given the experience gained in Namibia.


BOTSWANA
Past wins (0):
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
33        6          13        14        23        36
Botswana completed their best ever showing at the COSAFA Castle Cup in Namibia last year when they lost to South Africa in the final in Windhoek. Their previous best was when they won the bronze medal in back-to-back tournaments in 2006 and 2007. Expect them to be challengers again.

 

LESOTHO
Past wins (0):
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
37        9          10        18        35        50
Lesotho are among the smaller nations in the COSAFA Castle Cup but have often punched above their weight before, having made the final in 2000 and last year been among the most impressive performers in Namibia. They lost in the Plate semifinals there, but impressed with their adventurous style of play.

 

MADAGASCAR
Past wins (0):
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
25        10        5          10        28        29
Madagascar were among the most entertaining sides to watch at the 2015 COSAFA Castle Cup, but could not build on that in 2016 and exited in the first round. They are a side packed with talent and will once again rely on the goals of 2015 Golden Boot winner, Sarivahy Vombola.

 

MALAWI
Past wins (0):
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
40        12        10        18        40        52
Malawi appeared in the COSAFA Castle Cup final in both 2002 and 2003, but lost to South Africa and Zimbabwe respectively to deny The Flames a first ever Southern African championship. They are a team that is always competitive and will be seeking another big scalp in this year’s competition.

 

MAURITIUS
Past wins (0):
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
26        6          3          17        20        44
Mauritius caused arguably the biggest upset in COSAFA Castle Cup history in 2004 when they beat South Africa, who had a full-strength team headed to the African Nations Cup finals in Tunisia, in the first round in Curepipe. But Club M are still seeking to get past the quarterfinal stage of the southern African championship and endured disappointing first round exits in 2015 and 2016.

 

MOZAMBIQUE
Past wins (0):
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
36        12        8          16        37        46
Mozambique were beaten finalists in the 2015 COSAFA Castle Cup, adding more frustration for the country having come close to glory in the past. They were edged out by Namibia, having also been narrowly beaten by South Africa in the 2008 decider. Now under coach Abel Xavier there is a real belief they can rediscover their glory days, even if they disappointed in the 2016 COSAFA Castle Cup, losing both their matches.

 

NAMIBIA
Past wins (1): 2015
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
44        16        15        13        61        49
Namibia roared to a first ever COSAFA Castle Cup title in 2015 and in doing so became just the fifth nation to claim the Southern African prize. They had to do it the hard way, coming through the first round to play six matches in all. They were disappointed to exit in the quarterfinals as host nation in 2016, but went on to win the Plate competition, some consolation for the side.

 

SEYCHELLES
Past wins (0):
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
19        1          3          15        13        41
Seychelles have only won one of their previous 19 COSAFA Castle Cup matches, but what a success it was as they thumped Mauritius 7-0 in 2008. The side has looked competitive at times and nobody should bet against them adding another win in 2017.

 

SOUTH AFRICA
Past wins (4): 2002, 2007, 2008, 2016
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
38        20        12        6          51        23
South Africa are always among the favourites going into the COSAFA Castle Cup and this year will be no different as they seek to win back-to-back titles after success in Namibia last year. They will have the pressure of being hosts, but have not lost a COSAFA Castle Cup game since 2009, ousted only on penalties in 2013 and 2015.

 

SWAZILAND
Past wins (0):
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
37        14        10        13        37        44
There is a real sense that Swaziland’s football is on the up and they will be a match for any side in this year’s COSAFA Castle Cup competition have thrilled fans in 2016, where they came through the group stages to finish third. Their only defeat came in the semifinals to eventual winners South Africa.

 

TANZANIA
Past wins (0):
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
7          0          3          4          4          11
East African guest nation Tanzania will be seeking a first ever victory at the COSAFA Castle Cup having appeared twice before, in the augural event in 1997 and again in 2015. They are at the 2017 tournament after Comoros Islands pulled out, and two years ago lost all three of their matches.

 

ZAMBIA
Past wins (4): 1997, 1998, 2006, 2013
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
48        25        17        7          69        29
Zambia have arguably been the most successful nation in COSAFA Castle Cup history with four tournament wins and a further four visits to the final. In fact, remarkably they have only failed to make the semifinals three times before, in 2000 and, somewhat surprisingly in the 2015 and 2016. They will be desperate to make up for that twin disappointment.

 

ZIMBABWE
Past wins (4): 2000, 2003, 2005, 2009
Tournament record:
P          W        D         L          GF       GA
48        31        10        7          79        34
Zimbabwe are always a danger in this competition and along with Zambia and South Africa have also claimed four victories in the COSAFA Castle Cup. They also have the most wins and have scored the most goals, to leave an indelible mark on the Southern African competition.