fter an impressive start in the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifications with a home win over Ethiopia, The Malawi National Team are in West African as they are looking to record their first win against West African giants.
Flames are returning in actions today against Guinea in their second Group D Afcon Qualifiers game at the General Lansaba Conté Stadium in Conakry.
Guinea, The Syli Natiobal who are currently on a run of five games without a victory across all competitions, will ser out to arrest this slump and get their campaign up and running.
The Kaba Diawara’s side have claimed two draws and losing three games including a 1-0 defeat against Gambia in the round of 16 of the 2022 African Cup of Nations back in January in Cameroon.
Guinea were denied a dream start to their African Cup of Nations qualifications campaign when they fell to a slender 1-0 defeat away to Pharaohs on Sunday.
After holding Egypt goalless for most of the game, Galatasary forward, Mustafa Mohamed struck in the 89th minute to give the host the victory at the Cairo International Stadium.
Upon arriving in Conakry, The Flames Head of Technical Panel, Mario Marian Marinica says his team are very aware of their opponents Guinea’s Syli Nationale and that there is no need to panic.
Marinica said, “We know quite a lot about Guinea. We have got a lot of inside information. We searched them, we analysed them. We tried to prepare in advance with both Local Players and foreign based players.”
Malawi’s Flames have never beaten a West Africa side away from home in both African Cup of Nations and World Cup.
However, the Romanian said there is no jinx, only that the odds are often against The Flames when playing away in West Africa.
“I don’t think it’s a jinx, it’s first of aittke bit of difficulties we face compared to our colleagues. They charter (a panel) when travelling; for us it’s very difficult as we fly 26 hours to get here. And then we have one hour training session and it’s not much to adapt. So it’s a big factor. Obviously, they have the crowd behind them, it’s a home advantage,” said Marinica.
Despite that The Flames are playing away from home, The Romanian said the Flames are ready to scotch the Syli Nationale.
He said, “We are prepared like any other match yo go there and win and we hope we will achieve that.”
Flames Captain CJ Banda who accompanied the Tactician to the post match interviews, said the boys are focused on getting the positive results.
“Guiena are a big team and we respect them. But big teams are there to be beaten as well. Everyone of us knows the importance of this game and we are focused on getting positive results,” said Banda.
The two sides have met seven times with The West African giants winning four times while Malawi have two wins in there records.
In the last encounter between the last two, The Syli Nationale had to thank their goalminder, Aly Keita who frustrated Malawi’s efforts. The pacey attacking midfielder, Yamikani Chester squandered three Malawi’s biggest Chances, shooting straight to the goalkeeper. Keita also denied Micium Mhone’s 30-yard rocket, Mzava’s 35-meter thunder shot and Peter Banda’s shot just outside the penalty area.
In another Group D match, Ethiopia and Egypt are facing off in a foreign country, Malawi at Bingu National Stadium but ironically, Ethiopia are at home.
Egypt are looking to register their second win of the 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifications while Ethiopia will be reluctant to get their first three points.
The Pharaohs arrived in Malawi on Wednesday afternoon but they are without their two stars Liverpool’s lethal forward, Muhammad Salah and Arsenal’s midfielder, Muhammad Elneny.
Head Coach for Ethiopia, Wubetu Abate, said his charges are well prepared for the battle on Thursday evening against one of the Africa’s football heavyweights, Egypt.
“We played very well against Malawi but failed to create clear cut chances, this is another game which will determine our future of qualifying to the finals in Ivory Coast. Egypt is a better side with great players in Africa but we are equally ready to rock horns with them.
The absence of Mohammed Salah and Mohammed Elneny will have both negative and positive effects on us, they have more great players than the two. Our target is the results”, Abate said.
His counterpart, Ehab Galal, described Ethiopia as a good but Egypt have prepared for the match and looking forward to record their second win.
“We know some of their key players,their captain Shemeles Bekele plays in Egypt league.Salah and Elneny are great players they are going to be missed but we have many great players in the squad ready to play on Thursday.
“This match and incoming game against Malawi in September are very important because will give us a sign of who will qualify to the finals from our group. Playing Ethiopia away from Addis Ababa gives us and any team advantage “,Galal said.