It’s international week with 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, continental qualifiers and friendlies to entertain the football loving planet.
Malawi National Football Team traveled to Tanzania for their 2018 FIFA World Cup preliminary first leg qualifier against the Taifa Stars on Wednesday afternoon at Benjamin Mukapa National Stadium.
Flames head coach Enerst Mtawali travelled with a 20 man squad which is dominated by young stars from the under 20 national team.
Both teams failed to beat their opponents in the 2017 Afcon qualifiers last month, with Tanzania playing to a goalless draw with Nigeria and Malawi playing to a 2-all draw against Swaziland.
Despite failing to beat Nigeria, the Taifa Stars were a better side as they took the game away from the Super Eagles, dominating possession and creating lot’s of goal scoring opportunities.
However, before departing for the trip, Mtawali promised Malawians that his charges will play an attacking football with the aim of scoring goals away from home.
“We know how Tanzania plays, it’s a very good side. However, we won’t sit back, we will be more offensive and at the same time, defending with caution.”
“We are very much prepared for the clash. We rectified our mistakes we encountered in Swaziland so we are ready for the clash,” he said.
Tanzania is ranked 136 in the World, with the Flames on position 101 but this gap will be meaningless if Mtawali’s boys fails to beat the Taifa Stars.
Beating Tanzania away from home will be an advantage to the Flames who will host their counterparts on Sunday for the second leg.
Mtawali will be without key striker Chiukepo Msowoya after the Big Bullets forward was ruled out for four weeks due to a hamstring injury he suffered while on club duty.
Midfielder Robert Ng’ambi is also absent for Malawi due to an injury he sustained while on duty with his South African club Platinum Stars on Sunday.
Simplex Nthara is likely to make his first start in two years for the Flames following his ousting in 2012.
Another player who is likely to make his first appearance since 2014 is Gabadinho Mhango who has been absent for the National Team due to persistent injuries.
Winner between the two sides will play Algeria in the preliminary second leg before advancing to the final group stages for the qualification phase.
Malawi has failed to beat Tanzania on more than four accounts, with the majority of the games ending in draws. T
he last time the two teams met in Tanzania this year it ended 1-all.