Malawi coach Mario Marinica has declared his Flames ready for battle against the Pharaohs of Egypt in Friday’s Group D contest of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.
Marinica said his side is willing to face the giants of continental football at Defence Force Stadium and adapt, if necessary, in their bid for back-to-back AFCON qualification.
The Flames gave a good account of themselves at the delayed 2021 AFCON edition held in Cameroon last year when Malawi lost 1-0 to Guinea, beat Zimbabwe 2-1, held Senegal to a goalless draw and gave Morocco a good run for their cash before succumbing to a 2-1 defeat.
It is such brave performances that are giving the former Azam FC-cup winning mentor Marinica a glimmer of hope that the Flames can, on their sunny day, hold their own against the record AFCON champions.
“We are prepared to adapt and we are ready to face a strong squad like Egypt like before with Senegal, Morocco or other teams we faced. We believe that the game will start at 50-50 chances where we want to defend our 50 percent of the chances to finish the game with a good result for us,” he said.
“We are ready and good to go for this game. Our preparations were good but could have been better…we are talking abouT having more players in camp, having the chances to have them fitter…,” coach Mario added.
Malawi and Egypt have three points apiece, just like other group members Guinea and Ethiopia. The Flames started the race with a 2-1 win over Ethiopia at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe mid last year before losing 1-0 on the road to Guinea.
On the other hand, Egypt, led by Mohamed Salah, beat Guinea before suffering a shock 2-0 loss to Ethiopia.
Malawi have met Egypt 10 times overall with the Pharaohs winning five times and losing thrice and the rest being draws.
The Flames are some 85 places behind the Pharaohs on the FIFA-Coca Cola rankings.
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