Malawi national football team is in Group B of the 2021 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers alongside Uganda, Burkina Faso and Seychelles/South Sudan following a draw held yesterday in Cairo, Egypt.
Burkina Faso are the highest ranked team (50) in the group followed by Uganda (80). Either South Sudan on 168 and Seychelles (194) will join the group after the preliminary round.
Reacting to the draw Confederation of African Football (CAF) conducted, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda, who witnessed the draw alongside the association’s president Walter Nyamilandu, described the draw as fair.
“It’s an open group. All we have to do now is stay focused and prepare well,” he said.
But Gunda said there is need to be cautious and prepare well.
“No team is small or big, but we have to do thorough preparation tactically, mentally as well as administratively to come out strong. The players themselves have to psychologically be focused and give their best in their delivery on the field of play for the pride of the nation,” he said.
Team manager James Sangala, who was part of the squad during Malawi’s last Afcon appearance in 2010 in Angola, also said the Flames were in a softer group.
“It’s a fair draw. Looking at the teams in the group, there are no heavyweights such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Morocco, Egypt and Ghana,” he said.
On his part, football analyst Kelvin Moyo also described the draw as fair.
“We could not ask for a better group than this one. Malawi is more likely to qualify if FAM plans well for these assignments,” he said.
According to a press statement from CAF, the qualifiers in the preliminary round will start in October and not September while group stages are scheduled for November and not October as earlier announced.
Malawi, ranked 126, were seeded in the draw and were in third level.
There will be 12 groups of four teams each. The first two teams in each group will qualify to the 2021 finals to be hosted by Cameroon.