History made: Malawi through to Afcon Round of 16


For the first time in history, the Flames of Malawi will be part of the 16 teams that will battle it out for a place in the last eight of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after making it through as one of the best third-placed finishers with four points.

Marian Mario Marinica’s side had to rely on other teams to reach the knockout stage.

In their Group B campaign, Malawi managed to finish third because of a 2-1 win over Zimbabwe and a goalless draw with Senegal on Tuesday evening.

Since they lost 1-0 to Guinea in their opening match, their chances to progress were decided late on Wednesday.

And soon after their goalless draw with Senegal, Malawi hoped Comoros Island would beat Ghana and it worked in their favor as the Black Stars lost 3-2 to exit the tournament with just a point.

Ghana’s defeat meant Malawi had Cape Verde, Tunisia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau competing for the four best losers slots.

Then Marinica and his men looked at Nigeria to overcome Guinea Bissau in the last match of Group E where a victory for the West Africans would mean Flames can remain at their camp in Bafoussam City.

After Nigeria dominated their opponents, they were reserved with two brilliant goals and secured their win, thus ending Guinea Bissau’s hopes of overtaking Malawi.

That result, along with Comoros Island’ win over Ghana, completed a confusing set of mathematical permutations that saw Malawi finish as one of the four third-placed teams, and past the group stage at a Nations Cup for the first time since making their first appearance in 1984 and their second appearance in 2010.

Now, Malawi, instead of being on an early plane home, will line up against Group C winners Morocco who finished their group assignments with seven points.