The Flames will start their 2018 World Cup campaign from the first-round following their slump on the latest Fifa/Coca-Cola World Ranking, meaning more costs for the national football team.
The Flames have dropped the Fifa ladder by 13 places, from 95 to 108, to be among Africa’s 26 lowest ranked teams and will require two-legged qualifiers on home and away basis to make it into round-two of the preliminary stage and join 27 highest-ranked teams for two-legged play-offs.
It is after succeeding in these play-offs that the Flames can spin into the continent’s final qualification round, where five groups of four teams each will meet at home and away in a battle for the ultimate World Cup slots.
“This is really a big setback financially because we need to upwardly adjust our proposed budget for the qualifiers,” admitted Football Association of Malawi (FAM) chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda.
According to Nyirenda, they are banking on K50 million backing from Flames official sponsors Carlsberg and government.
A 1-2 defeat by lowly-ranked Zimbabwe Warriors (112) and other factors led to the Flames slip on the rankings.