Less than 72 hours left before Flames kick off their journey in 2023 Afcon qualifiers against Ethiopia, the Flames Vice Captain CJ John Banda said he and his teammate are geared to start the qualifiers on a positive note.

Speaking to media after the trainings on Thursday, CJ vowed not disappoint Malawians as they are taking on the Walias on Sunday at Bingu National Stadium.

“We are ready to die for the country,” said Banda.

“Every player knows how important it is being at the finals. So the first game is very important for us. Every player is willing that by the end of the campaign we should be at the finals,” added Banda.

The Former Blue Eagles midfielder said starting the campaign with a home fixture gives them an advantage.
“We are playing at home, like last campaign, we started at home in Blantyre, we won and also coming into this game we want to win so that we kick off the campaign on a positive note,” said Banda.

Banda has begged all Malawians to flock to Bingu National Stadium to give them extra effort as the Flames are aiming at grilling the Walias.

He said “I request Malawians to come at Bingu in large numbers to support us, we depend on them.”

On Wednesday, Flames Head Of Technical Panel Mario Marian Marinica said his charges were ready for the game.

Flames preparations have been hit by injury crisis as Peter Banda, Mark Fodya and Captain Limbikani Mzava have all been ruled out for the two forthcoming games.

Malawi started the 2021 Afcon qualifiers with a home game against South Sudan at Kamuzu Stadium, a game that Mhango’s strike was enough to scoop three points for the Flames.

Thereafter, Flames went to a 2 back to back defeats against Burkina Faso and Uganda in the first round. They played a barren draw at Kamuzu Stadium against Burkina Faso in a return match before beating South Sudan away from home.

In the last game againstUganda at home, Richard Mbulu was the hero as he scored the only goal that bought the Flames the tickets to Cameroon.

Malawi are looking to register their first ever back to back Afcon Finals appearances but they have a mountain to climb as all the four teams in their group made appearances at the last Afcon that took place in Cameroon in January.

Flames will host Ethiopia on June 5 at Kamuzu Stadium before flying off to Conakry for a second game against Guinea on June 9.

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