They are winless in the on-going 2017 African Cup of Nations qualification campaign and they are anchoring Group L with 2 points but the Flames of Malawi are ready to end the campaign on a very high note by beating Sihlangu of Swaziland on Sunday afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium.
In the reverse fixture, Malawi National Football Team gave away a 2-1 lead to draw 2-all against a rejuvenated Swaziland National Football Team at their own backyard.
Now, the two teams face each other again this coming weekend, a match which is a must win for the Sihlangu who will be looking for all the three points if they are to be considered the best losers and possibly have a chance of making it to Gabon.
However, they face a wounded lion looking to recover from a disappointing Afcon qualification campaign. Speaking on Thursday during a press briefing at Mpira Village in Blantyre, the Flames head coach Nsazurwimo Ramadhan says his charges will not spare Swaziland regardless of how important the game is to their opponents.
“Our preparations have been good so far and the players have combined very well, training hard and we are ready to spoil Swaziland’s party.”
“Like I said, I am not building a team, I will field a strong team that will give us the much needed results and even though it’s just a ceremonial game, we need to finish the campaign on a very high note especially considering the fact that we are playing at home,” he said.
Flames Captain Limbikani Mzava echoed his Coach’ words saying they cannot afford to disappoint Malawians again.
“We owe the Nation a victory against Swaziland. Our Afcon campaign was a nightmare but that’s football and the only way to restore the nation’s pride is to win our final match and we will give it all.”
“The competition for a place is very stiff and that’s an added advantage because players will be working hard in order to make it into the first eleven so come Sunday, a victory is certain,” he explained.
Apart from Mzava, Robert Ng’ambi, who was given a cold shoulder by former Flames head coach Enerst Mtawali, also promised Malawians a victory in the final match of the campaign.
“It’s always been my pleasure to serve my country by playing for the National team and together with my team-mates, we are promising Malawians that we will give it all against Swaziland on Sunday. The campaign was a disappointing one but we are looking forward to finish with our heads up so come in large numbers and we won’t disappoint,” he said.
And on his part, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) General Secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said he is overwhelmed with unity within the technical panel and players. “As FAM, we are very overwhelmed with unity within the technical panel and amongst the players themselves. Though being a ceremonial match, it’s very important for us to record a victory in front of our home fans so that we can at least restore the nation’s pride.”
“The preparations were good and we are very optimistic of winning against our friends who are taking this match as a cup final because a victory against us will give them a chance of qualifying to Gabon as best losers so we must forget about the previous games and put our focus on winning this game,” he said. On Saturday, the Flames will hold their last training session at Kamuzu Stadium at 16:00 before taking on Swaziland in a dead rubber on Sunday afternoon.
The team will be without injured Isaac Kaliyati but the rest of the guys are available for the showdown.