Malawi National Football team coach Mario is very confident to beat Ethiopia today Sunday in the Afcon opener.
Marian Marinica told the media in a pre-match pressing at Bingu National Stadium that he has total confidence in the squad he has assembled as Flames’ quest for the back-to-back Afcon appearance starts with a home game against Ethiopia.
The Romanian, However, cautioned Flames’ fans not expect only victory as tue game of football has three outcomes.
“Be behind us all through the game but don’t expect too much because it’s a game of football, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.
“However, everyone has dreams and hopes. We are prepared to put into practice our game plan in order to win.”
The 58-year-old who was a head coach in Cameroon on temporary basis said he is aware that he is on the helm of the team in the qualification battle in which the Flames has to grill all members in the group D, Egypt, Ethiopia and Guinea.
“In Cameroon it was abit different. We has internal camp in Chiwembe and then we had external camp in Saudi Arabia. And after that we had a camp in Cameroon. In total we had 57 days together.
“Obviously, it’s different with now because we have together just for few days in camp.”
He said despite missing injured Limbikani Mzava, dropped Striker Richard Mbulu, he believes that he has assembled troops capable of defeating Ethiopia.
“I believe the players we have selected are the best at that particular point in time to represent the country,” said Marinica.
The tactician added that the players selected were based on their strengths and weaknesses.
Marinica’s philosophy sees Flames shifting its style of play, passing and supporting football to direct football, dubbed “fast and very fast style of play”.
Marinica backed his philosophy saying passing and supporting football was ineffective.
“If I remember well, there was a lot of passing for example against Cameroon in World Cup qualifiers there were about 410 passes and out of that, no shot on target. So yes there is no entertainment in terms of passing quality.
“But we need to get points we need to get results. And we have to do that based on the players and the opponents we face. So at the end of the day, as they say, there are horses for courses, so we try to do with what we have and according to opponents that we face.”
Captain John CJ Banda who escorted the manager to the Press, echoed his coach’s sentiment saying the players are geared to start the qualifiers on positive note.
Ethiopia Head Coach, Wubetu Abate told the media at the press that despite being in a tough Group, he has troops capable of upsetting teams in the Group.
He said, “We know we are in a tough group. All the group members Malawi, Guinea were qualified for the last 16 and Egypt were finalists at the Afcon tournament. As of Malawi, we know the Flames play direct Football. We are ready for them.”
Mario Marian Marinica is likely to partner Gabadinho Mhango and the veteran Striker, Chiukepo Msowoya upfront with John Banda, Chimwemwe Idana, Gerrard Phiri Jr and Francisco Madinga being the favorites in the engine room. Stanley Sanudi, Dennis Chembezi, Lawrence Chaziya and Gomezgani Chirwa are likely to be the block at the back of the Malawi National Team.
The Walias are on a 6 games streak without a victory since the turn of the year ahead of a crucial game against Flames *Pakwawo* this weekend.
Off the back of one win from their last 12 games on the road, Sunday’s visitors will need to pick themselves up to avoid embarking on another fruitless away from home.
Ethiopia’s record goalscorer Getaneh Kebede will not have an opportunity to extend his lead at the top of the scoring charts after he was left out of the latest squad due to disciplinary reasons.
In Kebede’s absence, 23-year-old Amanuel Gebremichael will be looking to deliver the goods for this weekend’s visitors
Ethiopia possible starting lineup:
F. Gebremichael; Bayeh, Yusef, Hamid, Tunjo; Bekele, Panom, Mohammed; A. Gebremichael, Hotessa, Nassir.
Malawi and Ethiopia have a record of 6 meetings between them, two friendly matches, 2 Afcon Qualifiers and 2 World Cup qualifiers.
Flames have a record of 2 wins over Ethiopia while the Walias have won once with three games ending in stalemate.
Malawi beat Ethiopia 3-2 at Kamuzu Stadium on September 10, 2014 in 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers before playing a barren draw in Ethiopia in the return fixture on November 19, 2014.
Flames thrashed Ethiopia 3-1 at Kamuzu Stadium back in 2003, October 11 in World Cup qualifiers before playing a goalless draw in Ethiopia in the return match.
Ethiopia hammered Flames 4-0 in a Friendly match in Ethiopia on March 17, 2021.