The Flames have been drawn against South Sudan, Sudan and Djibouti in Group C of 2015 East and Central Africa Senior Challenge Cup to be held in Ethiopia from November 20 to December 6.
They start the campaign against Sudan on November 23 before facing Djibouti on November 24 and South Sudan on November 25.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda described Malawi’s group as fair.
“Everyone wants to win, but we must always remember the purpose of participating in this tournament which is to prepare for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers to be played early next year,” Nyirenda said.
“The tournament is an opportunity for up-and-coming players to convince the coach that they deserve to be in the squad. For those that are senior players, it’s their opportunity for them to consolidate their positions.”
Group A has hosts Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Somalia while Group B has Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Zanzibar. This draw comes after an earlier one was nullified by Cecafa.
Cecafa general secretary Nicholas Musonye authenticated the second draw.
“Yes, this one is the valid official draw, not the one that was circulated on Monday,” Musonye said in an interview from Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
The group winners and two third best teams will proceed to the quarter-final of the competition.
If Malawi will emerge champions, they will pocket prize money yet to be announced but will not be eligible to take the trophy.
Initially, Cecafa had announced that they would not accommodate guest teams. However, Malawi was handed a lifeline after Eritrea pulled out.
Reports indicate that the Eritrea’s strenuous relationship with the neighbours and hosts Ethiopia forced them to withdraw from the competition.
Uganda are the defending champions after winning the tournament in 2013. The competition did not take place in 2014 due to lack of sponsorship. n