…Marinica confident of sailing through…
Flames have been drawn in Group D alongside Ethiopia, Guinea and the 2021 runners up Egypt for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Marian Mario Marinica’s side who are ranked 129 in the world rankings were placed in Pot 4 of the qualifying phase of the African showpiece and will go up against The Pharaoh’s of Egypt who are ranked 32 and are seven times champions for Africa’s biggest national tournament.
The Flames will also go against Guinea, just four months after the Syli National defeated Malawi 1-0 at the just ended Afcon finals in Cameroun and the Walias of Ethiopia.
According to the Confederations of African Football (CAF), the first qualifying matches will be played from 30th May to 22 June.
And reacting to the draw, Marinica admitted that Malawi has a very tough group but sad everything is possible if his team prepare for all the three teams.
“All the teams have chances but this time, our Group seems to be a very tough Group. All the opponents have got a very good pedigree, track records especially Egypt, a fantastic team and fantastic players so it won’t be easy against them.
“Guinea had also a very good record over us and even Ethiopia who hammered us in the last friendly match we played against them and that was just last year. Therefore, all the three teams have got an upper hand against Malawi but like what we did at Afcon, we have to believe in our chances, we have to work hard, we have to stay together, we have to be well prepared, we have to be very organized, we have to analyze our opponents by seeing their strength, identifying their weaknesses and prepare for them,” said Marinica.
The 48 teams that were placed in a hat were drawn into 12 groups from which the winners and runners-up will proceed to the finals in Cote d’Ivoire from June 23 – July 23 next year.
Defending champions Senegal are in Group L alongside Benin, Mozambique and Rwanda.
Group A comprises of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bisau and Sao Tome/ Mauritius.
Burkina Faso are in Group B with Cape Verde, Togo and Eswatini whilst Cameroun are in Group B alongside Kenya, Namibia and Burundi.
Group E has Ghana, Madagascar, Angola and Central African Republic.
Algeria will have to battle Uganda, Niger and Tanzania in Group F, with Mali, Gambia, Congo and South Sudan completing Group G.
In Group H, the host nation Cote D’Ivoire will face Zambia, Comoros Island and Lesotho.
Group I has DR Congo, Gabon, Mauritania and Sudan, with Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Libya and Botswana competing Group J.
Group K will have Morocco, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Liberia.
The Flames qualified for their first ever Afcon knockout stages at the just ended tournament as one of the four best third placed teams but failed to make it to the top 8 after they lost 2-1 to Morocco.