Flames under 23 ready for Zambia

…Coach Meke Mwase unfazed by Zambia’s talent…

The Junior Flames are bound to face another herculean battle for a place at the 2019 Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations in Egypt as they will be playing host to Zambia Under-23 national team at Kamuzu Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

The future Flames held their final training session on Monday morning at the match venue, leading up to the first leg second round qualifier against their neighbours.

The team had weeks of preparation for the clash in Belgium where some positive results were recorded against top sides.

Head coach Meke Mwase told the media that his boys are ready for the game.

He also challenged his boys not to approach the game with fear, encouraging them to show the Zambians that they are also equally good to qualify for the tournament.

“The players and the technical panel are all excited that we have had weeks to prepare for this important clash against Zambia. We are not under pressure because our fellows have some players playing in top European clubs since I believe that I have a squad capable of beating them and I have already encouraged the boys to shine and to use this opportunity to show the world that they are ready for the big stage,” he said.

Captain of the team Chimwemwe Idana echoed Mwase’s sentiments saying Malawians should just come out in numbers to witness the clash.

Malawi U-23 in training

“We are very much ready for the showdown and we are urging all Malawians to come out in their large numbers to support us. We are determined to do well and we are looking forward to having a great game against Zambia,” he explained.

And speaking on behalf of the visiting team, head coach Beston Chambeshi said his charges are ready for the clash.

“The boys are looking forward to the encounter and we have to be at our level best in order to beat Malawi.”

“We prepared well and we are not under any pressure. We are just looking forward to building a future national team for our country and that’s why we have come to do well. Despite having some players in Europe, football is played on the pitch and we cannot undermine our opponents because Malawi is also equally good,” he told the media.

The Zambians will rely heavily on their European quartet of Patson Daka and Enock Mwepu who both plays for Red Bull Salzburg, Fashion Sakala who plays for KV Oostende and Emmanuel Banda who plays for As Beziers of France.

The return leg will be played on 24 March at Heroes Stadium.

Winner between the two teams will face either Burundi or Congo Brazzaville in the final qualifying round.

The eight team African Zone Olympic qualifier will be hosted in Cairo, with top three teams qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.