Witten by Dyson Kamwana
Football analysts in the country have thrown in different views on the Malawi National Football team, the Flames state of preparations ahead of its encounter against Egypt in Cairo this Friday March 24th ,2023.
While Anthony Msukwa has described the Flames preparations as a flop, another soccer analyst Kim Kamau feels the Flames performance in the friendly matches has been a morale booster in the camp.
Msukwa argues that teams which the Flames met in a preparation period including Lesotho, Bangladesh and AL- Ansar could not give a real test against a team like Egypt.
“The performance during the friendly games cannot give us hope for the better against a big team like Egypt. Our preparations had so many challenges including sourcing weak teams like Bangladesh, and lower side AL-Ansar,” said Msukwa.
However, Kamau is of the view that having scored 10 goals during the friendly matches could not only define weakness of the teams, but also can serve as a morale booster in the flames camp.
“Flames played four friendly matches at home and in Saudi Arabia scoring 10 goals in the process. This is a morale booster that will energize the mentality of the players to work extra hard in the match against Egypt,” said Kamau.
Meanwhile, both Msukwa and Kamau have concurred that it could be better if flames were given a test against neighboring countries like Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania which are performing well than Bangladesh which is ranked at 192 on world FIFA ranking.
The two analysts said it is high time the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) started empowering youth football so that a transition of players from grass root to the senior national team is not affected.
Flames Head Coach, Mario Marinica has since released a 27-man squad of 9 foreign based players including Peter Banda who plays for a Tanzania based outfit Simba FC, and Frank Gabadinho Mhango who plays for Amazulu FC in South Africa.
The squad has also seen 18 local based players being entrusted to travel to Egypt including six players from FCB Nyasa Big Bullets, four players from Silver Strikers and Might Mukuru Wanderers with few faces from Blue Eagles FC, MAFCO FC and Civil Sporting Club.
In its preparing matches, Flames played Lesotho at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe where it ended in a 1 all draw before travelling to Saudi Arabia where they shared points with Bangladesh and won 8-0 against AL-Ansar Football Club.
The Flames are expected to play a return match against Egypt in the country on March 28th,2023 at BNS in Lilongwe.
The Malawi Senior National Football team is seeking a back to back qualification ticket for the AFCON tournament, after they made it in the 2022 AFCON finals played in Cameroon where it was booted out in a round of 16 of the tournament.