The Flames say while the scales appear to swing in Guinea’s favour, they are determined to roast the National Elephants (Syli Nationale) tonight when they clash in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier.
Buoyed by their 2-1 win over Ethiopia’s Walia Ibex in their opening qualifier at home on Sunday, Malawi go to General Lansana Conte Stadium in Conakry with a spring in their step hoping to stun the hosts.
They stand proudly at the summit of the four-team Group D, which includes record seven-time African champions Egypt’s Pharaohs, who also have three points but with an inferior goal aggregate.
Statistics don’t lie and in their nine meetings with Syli Nationale, the Flames have won only once, lost four and drawn four and it will take something special to cause an upset.
But Flames coach Mario Marinica believes his charges can get something from this encounter which kicks off at 9pm even though the odds appear stacked against them.
He, however, bemoaned the Flames’ tight schedule that left them with little time to recover after arriving in Conakry at about 8.20pm on Tuesday.
Said Marinica: “Obviously, we are not in an ideal situation. We had a game against Ethiopia on Sunday, then we left our hotel in Lilongwe the following morning at 6am and we only got to our hotel here in Conakry at 9pm on Tuesday. This is in contrast to our colleagues that are flying chartered.
“Nevertheless, we have done some icing and recovery sessions. It’s not ideal, but we will soldier through.”
Commenting on the game, the Romanian said like the previous games, there are no expectations.
“But we are preparing thoroughly to win,” he said.
Marinica was also elusive on the game approach and whether he will ring changes to the starting line-up.
“We will make a final decision on any potential changes after we re-evaluate our players and opponents,” he said.
South Africa-based forward Frank Gabadinho Mhango, who scored a brace against Ethiopia, will be hoping to continue from where he left aided by the likes of Khuda Muyaba, Gerald Phiri Jnr and Fransisco Madinga.
On the other hand, Guinea, who are winless in five games across all competitions, lost their opening qualifier to Egypt 1-0 away and will be hoping to get their campaign back on track.
Their coach Kaba Diawara said they have since switched focus to tonight’s showdown.
The former Arsenal, PSG and Marseille star was quoted by Sports Mole as having said: “We do not have time to worry about the past. We have to forge ahead and prepare for the Malawi match which should be another tough game.”
Guinea will bank their hopes on Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita.
In another Group D match, Ethiopia will host Egypt at Bingu National Stadium (BNS).
The Ethiopians chose BNS as their alternative venue following CAF’s decision to ban their national stadium for failing to meet some minimum requirements.
The match kicks off at 6pm.