The Malawi National Football Team will kick off their 2022 Hollywoodbets Cosafa Cup competition against Lesotho in a Group B opener later today at King Zwelithini stadium in Durban, South Africa.
The two teams last met in the same tournament 6 years ago and Likuena put off flames by beating them with a goal to nill. They also met in friendly games in 2017 and 2018 but both games ended in one-all stalemates.
Flames Head of the technical panel said his charges are geared to end Liukena’s dominance of the fixture.
The Romanian said, “Yes Malawi has never beaten Lesotho since 2015 but we say that the records are there to be broken. We hope will have a good game and come out with positive results.”
Mario added that he is aware of the soccer fans’ expectations of the tournament, however, he said there is no need to panic.
“I don’t believe it is such thing as pressure. Pressure is something you put yourself under. Yes last Cosafa tournament Malawi didn’t do well, But we hope with our game plan we will go a step further this time.
The Flames best performance in recent years was in 2015 when they won the Plate competition after they defeated Zambia.
But Malawi failed to build from the Plate success and ended up being knocked out in first round for three consecutive years in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Malawi bounced back in 2019 and managed to reach the quarterfinals.
The Flames’ effort to reach the semi-finals were thwarted once again by Zambia through penalty shoot-out.
Relegated to Plate section, Malawi made it to the final but lost to hosts South Africa.
Lesotho were also knocked out in group stage last edition.
However, they have an impressive at COSAFA Cup record as they have been in the quarter-finals in 2016, semi-finals in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
They also finished third in 2018 after beating Madagascar in the third-place play-off.
It Wednesday match, the Flames are spoiled of choice after Mario named captain John CJ Banda, Frank Gabadinho Mhango, Khuda Myaba, Chimwemwe Idana, Stain Davie, Stanley Sanudi, Micium Mhone, Yamikani Chester, Peter Banda and Chikoti Chirwa in his squad.
His only setback in the opening match is the absnce of defender Gomezgani Chirwa who was refused entry into South Africa after losing his passport at OR Tambo International Airport.
Likuena coach Veselin Jelusic, has also named a strong squad which held Ivory Coast in TotalEnergies 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The 2022 Holly wood bets Cosafa Cup tournament started yesterday, Tuesday with two group A matches as Botswana beat Seychelles by a goal to nill while Congo thrashed Comoros by three goals to one.