COSAFA has announced some fixture changes in the 2021 COSAFA Cup after Comoros withdrew from participating in the tournament to be staged in Nelson Mandela Bay from July 6-18.

The Indian Ocean islanders were forced to pull out of the competition due to their government’s restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic. The team was drawn in Group B alongside defending champions Zambia, Malawi, and Madagascar.

The withdrawal means the teams in the pool will only two games each, with the top-placed side progressing to the semifinals.

To level the playing field in the calculation for that best runner-up position, the results against the bottom sides in the four-team Groups A and C will not count.

The other fixtures remain the same, with the action getting underway on Tuesday as Eswatini meet Lesotho in Group A (14h00). Later, hosts South Africa will play Botswana (17h00).

The first matches in Group C will be played on Thursday when six-time winners Zimbabwe tackle Mozambique (12h00), and west African guest nation Senegal face Namibia (15h00).

The group stages will end on July 14, with the semifinal matches to be played two days later. The competition final and third-place play-off will be staged on July 18.