Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Banda Abdi of Tanzania challenged by Jabulani Linje of Malawi during the Cosafa Castle Cup match between Tanzania and Malawi at the Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg on 25 June 2017.

Two goals from Yahya Ramadhani gave Tanzania a perfect start to their 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup campaign as they defeated Malawi 2-0 in a Group encounter at the Moruleng Stadium in South Africa’s North West province on Sunday.

The East African guest nation head the log on goal-difference from Angola, who beat Mauritius 1-0 in the later fixture in the pool.

Ramadhani had both his goals inside the first 18 minutes as Tanzania made an excellent start against a lackluster Malawi, who improved in the second period but could not find a way past the resolute Taifa Stars defence. Ramadhani’s first was a fine finish on the half-volley after the ball broke to him in the Malawi area, before he added to that with a low strike from 25 yards.

Both teams had chances after that, but there were no more goals and it meant a first ever victory in the COSAFA Castle Cup for Tanzania in what is their third tournament and eighth match.

Angola’s victory was deserved as Augusto Quibeto lashed them in front inside four minutes.

He collected the ball on the edge of the box and turned superbly to rifle the ball home with a sublime finish.

Clear-cut chances were few and far between in the game, but Angola had another opportunity to double their advantage later on. When Mauritius goalkeeper Kevin Jean-Louis ensures the score remained 1-0 with a brilliant save from a Nelson Da Luz header.

Group B will get under way at the same venue on Monday as Zimbabwe take on Mozambique in what is already looking like a tasty tie. The match kicks-off at 17h00 (15h00 GMT)

Zimbabwe have brought a strong squad to the tournament under coach Sunday Chidzambwa, with who they last lifted the trophy in 2009.

And although Mozambique have rested many of their regulars, they are a country renowned for producing exciting players and will certainly be keen to get their tournament off to a positive start.

The later match in the pool sees Madagascar take on Seychelles as the latter look to end a barren run in the competition that has seen them claim just a single victory in their 19 previous matches.

Madagascar look to have brought a strong squad as well and will hope to replicate their run to the semifinals in 2015.

The second match gets under way at 19h30 (17h30 GMT).

SUNDAY’S RESULTS

Group A

Tanzania 2 (Ramadhani 13’, 18’) Malawi 0

Mauritius 0 Angola 1 (Quibeto 4’)

MONDAY’S FIXTURES

Group B

Mozambique vs Zimbabwe (KO 17h00 local, 15h00 GMT) – Moruleng Stadium

Madagascar vs Seychelles (KO 19h30 local, 17h30 GMT) – Moruleng Stadium

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