If records are anything to go by and given the poor preparations, the odds are stacked against the Flames who starts camping on Monday in preparations of the forthcoming 2014 World Cup qualifier against Namibia’s Brave Warriors.
The Flames will face the Brave Warriors away in Windhoek on March 22.
The two teams have met six times in competitive games with Namibia winning all encounters.
During their first meeting in a Cosafa Castle Cup fixture in 1997, Namibia emerged 4-1 victors.
The following year, Namibia beat Malawi back-to-back with a 1-0 win in Blantyre followed by a 2-1 victory in Windhoek in Afcon qualifiers.
Then, three Cosafa Castle Cup meetings followed with Namibia winning all of them.
Namibia beat the Flames 4-2 on penalties after forcing a 1-all draw in Blantyre in 1999. This was followed by a 3-2 win in Windhoek in 2006 and a 1-0 victory in Secunda, South Africa in 2008.
Malawi have managed only two wins in friendly games away in Windhoek. They won 3-1 in 2008 under expatriate Stephen Constantine and a 2-1 in 2011.
Their last meeting was a friendly encounter to mark Malawi’s 47th Independence Anniversary Celebrations in Mzuzu in 2011. And the visitors outshined the Flames in front of the late president Bingu wa Mutharika with a 1-0 win.
And as Eddington Ng’onamo starts his third stint as Flames caretaker coach, he faces an uphill task ahead of his first assignment.
Having come out clean in his only three assignments as Flames stand-in coach without a loss, Ng’onamo looks forward to starting yet another chapter on high note by maintaining his Flames unbeaten run.
Malawi government has just approved FAM’s request for supplementary funding to meet the Flames’ World Cup assignments until June.
Sports Council executive secretary George Jana confirmed on Saturday that government had approved request for supplementary funding.
“The supplementary funding has been approved, but there are certain things that we have to look at pertaining to their programme and we’ll be meeting FAM later today [Saturday],” said Jana.
However, Jana could not be drawn to disclose how much has been approved.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda confirmed that a 25-member local-based squad is scheduled to go into camp tomorrow at Chiwembe Technical Centre.
Veteran Big Bullets captain Fischer ‘Anong’a’ Kondowe, defender Sankhani Mkandawire and Epac United forward Ishmail Thindwa have been recalled.
Notable new faces in the squad include Silver Strikers captain Lucky Malata, midfielders Psatrick Gunde (Civo United), Young Chimodzi Jnr (Silver), Victor Limbani Blantyre United, strikers Boniface Kaulesi (Red Lions) and Moses Nankumba (Azam Tigers).
With the Super League on off-season and some foreign-based players not enjoying game time at their respective teams, going in camp late may result in taking to Namibia a team lacking match fitness.
At 113, 10 places above Namibia on the Fifa rankings, the Flames may seem to be favourites on paper.
Namibia’s solid organisation, coupled with a pool of top performing foreign-based players and their dominance over the Flames in competitive games, gives the Brave Warriors an edge.
While the Flames coaching panel is yet to get down to work, Namibia appointed acting coach Nebhard Kauanjuka in January and he got down to work immediately when he travelled outside to monitor foreign-based players.
The team played a friendly game against Morocco in January.
Malawi only have three players featuring regularly in the South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) namely defenders Limbikani Mzava and
Harry Nyirenda, and midfielder Robert Ng’ambi while strikers Atusaye Nyondo and Robin Ngalande, have been reduced to sideshows.
On the other hand, Namibia’s eight players in the PSL are all first-choice players at their respective clubs.
With two draws against Kenya and Nigeria, Flames are third in group K, a point behind Namibia who managed a 1-0 win over Kenya then narrowly lost to group leaders Nigeria. The Brave Warriors are on second position.
The full Flames squad is as follows: Goal Keepers: Charles Swini, Owen Chaima, Richard Chipuwa; Defenders: John Lanjesi, Wongani Kaipa, Foster Namwera, Mkandawire, George Nyirenda and Malata; Midfielders: Chimango Kayira, Frank Banda, Gunde, Chimodzi Jnr, Limbani, Ndaziona Chatsalira, Douglas Chirambo, Miciam Mhone and Kondowe; Strikers: Thindwa, Gabadhino Mhango, Gastin Simkonda, Kaulesi, Harvey Mkacha, Rodrick Gonani and Nankumba.