When FAM secured the May 25 friendly against Zimbabwe, little did the local association foresee that, few weeks later, the Flames would meet the Warriors in a competitive match.
A Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) draw held in Zambia on Friday put the two teams on collision course again. They meet in the 2013 Cosafa Castle Cup quarter-final on July 13 in Kabwe, Zambia.
Reacting to the draw, Silver Strikers assistant coach Hellings Mwakasungula said the Flames have a squad capable of delivering the goods against the four-time Cosafa Cup winners.
When contacted for comment, Flames midfielder John ‘CJ’ Banda shared Mwakasungula’s opinion.
Former Escom United winger Kondwani Gawani stressed the need for sound preparations, saying “coordination of the players is not up to that standard.”
Former Flames midfielder Gift Zakazaka, who played in several Cosafa matches, urged caretaker coach Eddington Ng’onamo to use more local players during the competition.
“I think with the coming in of the new technical committee, players are now fighting for places, unlike in the recent past when some of them were just too lazy,” said the former Mighty Wanderers star.
Wanderers midfielder Mapopa Msukwa warned that Zimbabwe should not be taken for granted as their football is on the up “that is why South African clubs have stopped taking players from Malawi and they are going for Zimbabweans. This shows that our football is going down.”
But women football administrator Winnie Nyondo observed that Zimbabwe are no longer a strong side “hence, the Flames, with hard-work, pride and dedication, have a slight advantage. But I doubt if they still will be willing to play Malawi in a friendly game following the draw.”
The Flames, alongside Angola, South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique, were exempted from the preliminary round comprising eight lowest-ranked teams split into two four-member groups.
The eight will compete in a round robin with the overall winner snatching a quarter-final berth. Other quarter final fixtures have hosts Zambia against Mozambique, South Africa will meet Group A winners whereas group B’s top side will play Angola.
Group A comprises Tanzania (guests), Namibia, Mauritius and Seychelles, whereas Kenya (guests) are in Group B alongside Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.
The preliminaries kick off on July 6.