Under the gaze of Sphinx, a spectacular Africa Cup of Nations draw in Cameroon on Tuesday night produced an intriguing set of groups that leave many riddles to be answered.
After qualifying for the Afcon finals for the first time in more than a decade, the Malawi National Football Team will face the 2002 and 2019 runners up Senegal, 1976 runners up Guinea and Zimbabwe in Group B.
The first time Malawi played Senegal was in 1987 during African Games where the Flames won 2-0 but in 2007, Senegal won 2-3 during in an international friendly match played at Kamuzu Stadium.
Recently, Malawi lost 2-1 to Senegal at the just ended Cosafa Cup in South Africa though the Lions of Teranga used a development side at the tournament.
It will also be the sixth time for Malawi to face Guinea.
The Flames lost 3-1 to the Syli Nationale in the Afcon qualifiers in 2016 after playing to a goalless draw in the first round.
Malawi were beaten 3-1 by Guinea in 2005 during a World Cup qualification match after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in 2004 at Kamuzu Stadium.
The two teams faced off once again in the World Cup qualifiers in 2009 in which Malawi won 2-1 at home before suffering a defeat with the same margin away to Guinea.
The Flames will also play Zimbabwe in one of the Group B matches. The two teams are familiar with each other, having met on more than 20 occasions in different competitions.
Meck Mwase’s men will begin their campaign on 10 January, 2022 against Guinea before playing Zimbabwe on 14 January and they will conclude their group matches on 18 January against Senegal.
All Flames matches will be played in Baffousam at Kouekong Stadium.
Every draw contains a so-called ‘group of death’ and in this instance it is undoubtedly Group D with former champions Egypt and Nigeria plus outsiders Sudan and Guinea-Bissau.
Group E contains Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania and Gambia whilst Group E has defending champions Algeria, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea and Cote D’ivoire.
The host nation Cameroon will have to battle it out with Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Cape Verde in Group A whilst Group C has Morocco, Ghana, Comoros Island and Gabon.
Group A: Cameroon (hosts), Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Cape Verde
Group B: Senegal, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Malawi
Group C: Morocco, Ghana, Comoros Island, Gabon
Group D: Nigeria, Egypt, Sudan, Guinea-Bissau
Group E: Algeria, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea, Cote D’ivoire
Group F: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Gambia
10 January, 2022
-Guinea v Malawi
14 January, 2022
-Malawi v Zimbabwe
18 January, 2022
-Malawi v Senegal
The tournament kicks off in January next year.