The Flames’ all-important away victory over South Sudan in an Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier on Wednesday has earned the team President Lazarus Chakwera’s salute on arrival home.
The President saluted the Flames through Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama who welcomed the team on arrival at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre yesterday.
Looking sporty in a red tracksuit, the minister said: “The President sent me to thank you for the job well done and he expects you to complete the task on Monday against Uganda.”
Msungama, who accompanied the Flames on their unsuccessful trip to Burkina Faso in November 2020, said government is aware that it was not an easy task.
“You have raised the nation’s flag high and you have done us proud,” he said.
“I want to assure you that we we will give you all the support.”
Reinstated Flames captain Limbikani Mzava thanked the minister for welcoming the team, saying it was an inspiration and motivation.
However, he said: “But this should not happen only when we win honourable minister because sometimes we have concerns which we want to raise through you as national team players.
“Please spare some time to visit us so that we can share our concerns. “
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu thanked government through the minister for its support, which he said necessitated the Flames victory.
He said: “Honourable minister, you sent us on an assignment and we have successfully achieved that. However, this could not have been possible without government support under President Chakwera. We camped in Ethiopia for a week which helped the team to prepare for the match.
“However, the war is not over, we have only won a battle. But we now have a good chance of qualifying, the players are determined.”
Conspicuously missing at the airport were the fans and the team arrived without pomp.
It was only welcomed by flamboyant interim national team supporters committee chairperson Yona Malunga and the committee’s adviser Anthony Nyasulu.
The Flames went straight into business and loosened up in the afternoon.