By: Andrew Cane Chilapondwa
The Flames completed their training session for the all-important clash against Guinea in the 2017 Gabon Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The boys trained at the artificial turf, Kamuzu Stadium, on Monday afternoon ahead of the showdown. Knowing that zimbabwe thumped Swaziland 4-nil in Harare to take the first position, the Flames needs all the three points against Guinea on Tuesday afternoon.
Malawi has two points from three matches in Group L which is now being led by Zimbabwe who are on eight points, with Swaziland now on the second position with five points from the same number of games. In the first leg, the Flames played out a goalless draw against their opponents, giving them all the chances to claim the much-needed points at home in front of 25 thousand plus fans.
Beating Guinea will likely boost Malawi’s chances of making it to Gabon for their third Afcon finals appearance. Head Coach Enerst Mtawali told the local press that he will use an attacking minded formation as he will be vying for all the three points against the West African giants.
“We will go flat out against them since we are in-need of all the points today and I will add firepower by going with two strikers at once,” he said.
However, one of the renowned soccer analyst in Malawi Enos Chatama believes that the return leg will be more difficult for the home team if not treated carefully.
“This will be a very tough game for Malawi because Guinea will come out fighting from all cylinders knowing that a defeat will end their dream of making it to Gabon so Malawi needs to be careful,” he warned.
The home team will be without Joseph Kamwendo due to suspension after accumulating two yellow cards. However, beating Guinea will not be easy for Mtawali’s boys.
On record, Malawi has only lost twice at home in Afcon qualifiers since the introduction of the artificial turf at Kamuzu Stadium but this tie looks different from all the matches played on the venue so far. Collecting two points from three games is not enough for a team like Guinea and knowing that a defeat will completely end their journey, they will definitely cause havoc in Malawi’s team.
Another draw between these two teams will likely give Zimbabwe an edge over every team in the group to make it to Gabon next year.
Flames players are indeed in a battle of destiny. It’s either now or neither but the battle is on.
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