With Zimbabwe already confirmed as Group L winners with a game to spare, Flames’ 2017 AFCON qualifier with Swaziland this afternoon will just be a ceremonial match.
The Malawi National Football Team failed to qualify for the continent’s biggest football prize.
They started on a bad note in their group as a a lackluster 2-1 defeat to Zimbabwe at Kamuzu Stadium was followed with a 2-all draw away to Swaziland. The Flames then locked horns with Guinea before losing 1-nil in the return leg at their own backyard.
Malawi’s dream came to an end when they lost 3-nil to Zimbabwe in Harare to lie bottom of the group with two points from five games.
Now, Nsazurwimo Ramadhan’s men will face a stern test against a resilient Swaziland who are still hoping to qualify as one of the best group runners-up.
The fact that Malawi failed to beat the Sihlangu in the reverse fixture suggests that it won’t be easy for the hosts.
Some will see this as a meaningless match as Flames have failed to qualify for Gabon next year. However, this game will be a good opportunity to prepare for the CHAN , Cecafa, and Cosafa tournaments next year.
Ramadhan has kept the bulk of the squad that has been in the national team over the last few matches and added some new faces – Thuso Paipi, Maxwell Salambura, Gilbert Chirwa and Matthews Sibale while Isaac Kaliyati has withdrawn from the squad due to an injury he sustained a month ago.
Swaziland still have a slim chance of qualifying for the tournament as one of the best group runners-up. Victory at Kamuzu Stadium will see them finishing the qualifying campaign with 11 points, ahead of third placed Guinea.
Harries Bulunga men won 2-1 away to Guinea beforre drawing 2-2 with Malawi. The Sihlangu then drew 1-all with group leaderrs Zimbabwe before losing the return fixture 4-nil in Harare.
They then managed to beat Guinea 1-nil at home and if they can beat Malawi today, they will be on the verge of making it to Gabon for the first time in their history.
The match kicks off at 15:00 hours.