Heroes welcome for Flames

...Walter says players did it for the love of Malawi and not because of money...


The Malawi National Football Team arrived to a heroes’ welcome at Chileka International Airport on Friday despite failing to progress to the last eight of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations currently underway in Cameroon.

Adoring fans, along with Board Chairman of Malawi National Council of Sports Sunduzwayo Madise were there to welcome Coach Marian Mario Marinica and his boys, following their 2-1 defeat to Morocco in the Round of 16 on Tuesday night.

Speaking to the media upon arrival at the Airport, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) President Walter Nyamilandu said his boys did it for the love of the nation, adding Flames players are never spoiled because they don’t earn a lot from the team.

“We performed good not because of money. These guys are not spoiled because they don’t earn a lot from this team but they did it for the love of the nation,” he said.

The Association boss then pleaded with the corporate world to come forward and partner FAM in order to take the game to another level.

“Malawians love football and we have seen it today when they braved the rains to welcome the team at the Airport. It’s high time we have more partners from the corporate world to support us so that we take the game to another league. It’s evident that with a lot of resources, we can surpass what we have achieved in Cameroon so I am pleading with the corporate world to come forward and work together for the betterment of our beautiful game,” he concluded.

And in the evening, the team was hosted at Amaryllis Hotel for a welcoming dinner.

Malawi finished third in Group B with 4 points behind leaders Senegal with 5 and second placed Guinea with 4 points as well but earned an automatic qualification on a head to head record after they defeated Malawi 1-0 in the opening match.

The Flames had to qualify to the knockout stage as one of the four best third-placed teams before going down 2-1 to Morocco despite taking an early lead through a Gabadinho Mhango’s 7th minute strike.

This was the first time for the team to make it to the Round of 16 after failing to make it in 1984 and 2010.