The Malawi National Football Team head coach Patrick Mabedi says his charges are ready for Liberia in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier at Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Monrovia this afternoon.
The Flames, who are in Group H, will face Liberia before their second match against Tunisia at Bingu National Stadium on Tuesday.
Speaking to the media through the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Director of Communications and Competitions Gomezgani Zakazaka, Mabedi says the boys are geared for the battle.
“We are geared. Players are ready mentally and physically. We have adjusted well to the weather conditions, and we are looking forward to the game,” he said.
The gaffer has also been impressed with how Chifundo Mphasi, Brighton Munthali, and Dennis Chembezi, who joined the team en route to Liberia, have been performing since their arrival in the camp.
“The good thing is that we have been with them before and we gave them a program which they followed and when we met them here, they showed us their character and adapted very quickly with other players. With what they have been following, it was easy for them to adapt, and this made it very easy for us to work with them,” he revealed.
The former Flames skipper was also quick to describe his opponents as a good side, saying they play good football, hence the need to be very careful with them.
“Look, I have watched their previous game and few games before, they are a very good team and they can hurt you if you give them time and space and at the same time, they are vulnerable if you take full use of your opportunities and also if you restrict them from playing.
“It’s a team that you need to plan very well and try to tell your players to execute whatever you teach them to do in training. It’s a very good team, but they also have more weaknesses,” he added.
With the history of struggling whenever the team is playing in West Africa, Mabedi is very adamant that his charges will create a new chapter by breaking the curse of performing miserably against teams from this region.
“I think it’s just a mental thing. First and foremost, we always have that losing mind whenever we play in West Africa. Secondly, we don’t adjust very quickly, and thirdly, we don’t manage time during the game, and tactically, we don’t plan very well. Now this is a modern football where we need to adjust in all aspect, we need to manage time because it doesn’t stop and break down the moments whenever we are playing and at the same time, prepare tactically if somethings happens and it needs a quick reaction.
“If we can do all this, we can become very successful and end the curse. Overall, it’s a mental thing. The weather is different from where we come from,” he continued.
The tactician also reminded his charges to understand that every match they play is important regardless of the type of competition.
“First and foremost, it’s very important to understand that every game is important. It doesn’t matter whether a friendly or a competitive match, for us, we started preparing for this a long time ago when we played Afcon and Cosafa games and this gave us the opportunity to prepare ourselves and by now, it’s where we start our race. I believe sometimes it’s how you start, but in the end, it’s also how you finish. It’s important for us to take this game seriously and we need to do our best so that we can collect all the points to give us the confidence that we need going into the second game on Tuesday.
“I believe in these players, and I think they will deliver for us by doing what we have taught them to do. Overall, it’s very important for us to finish on the wining side.”
On the youngsters, Mabedi said: “This is a different game. This is a World Cup match where you compete with the best in the world, and at the same time, they shouldn’t listen too much to the name. They can get frustrated because you can play the same countries in the Afcon or friendly matches. They should make sure to treat each and every match seriously. We should take this match like a cup final so that we fare very well and by the time we start thinking about the name of the competition, we are somewhere else. It’s very important for us not to think too much about the name and take the game as it is,” he concluded.
Team Captain John Banda also encouraged his fellow players to put everything behind and focus on the game in order to get the much desired result.
“We all know why we are here. If we put everything behind and get the positive result, we will face Tunisia on Tuesday with confidence, and that’s what we need as a team. We have more youngsters who are now gaining experience, and we have advised each other to deliver for our nation.”
“This is the climax of nation football. I have so much experience, and I will try my level best to help the youngsters who are playing in World Cup qualifiers for the first time in their careers. They have played in Cosafa and Afcon, but this is their lifetime opportunity to play in the World Cup qualifiers where you compete against the best. They should forget about previous results and focus on this campaign to make their own names and history,” he concluded.
The match will kick off at 6 PM Malawian time.