The Flames on Thursday left for camping in Saudi Arabia ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon next month.
Speaking before departure at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre on behalf of other players sporting three-piece black suits, white shirts, red neckties and matching black shoes, national football team vice-captain John Banda promised to make the country proud,
He said the continental showpiece offers a big platform for the players to market themselves and they cannot afford to spoil such an opportunity.
At the 33rd Afcon showpiece, slated for January 9 to February 6 2022, the Flames will start the campaign against Guinea’s Syli Nationale on January 10 at Kouekong Stadium, in Bafoussam.
Malawi will have their second Group B match against Zimbabwe’s Warriors on January 14 before rounding up group fixtures against Africa’s top-ranked side Senegal’s Teranga Lions on January 18.
Banda said: “Of course, there is no team that can be said to be easy-to-beat at the Afcon, but everything is possible for us to win games and progress. All we need is for Malawians to keep us in prayers and for us, the players, to put up a spirited performance in all our fixtures.
“At present, each one of us is looking at the prospects of striking deals with top overseas clubs and we can only attract them if we play well and win Afcon games. We will do our best to make mother Malawi proud.”
He added that they are geared to impress during their 10-day sojourn in Saudi Arabia, where they are set to face Mali on December 30 and Comoros on January 4.
Flames head of technical panel Marian Mario Marinica said he is confident that his charges will not disappoint both during Saudi Arabia camp and the Afcon finals and.
“The players seem to be committed on this mission and that is what is needed for a team to produce good results,” he said.
Malawi qualified for the Afcon finals for the third time after finishing second to Burkina Faso in their group during the qualifiers. Uganda finished third while South Sudan anchored the table.
The 30-player Flames travelling squad includes six new faces that were not part of the Afcon qualification campaign and the just-ended 2022 Fifa World cup qualifiers.
These are Silver Strikers goalkeeper Charles Thom, Nyasa Big Bullets defender Sankhani Mkandawire, Civo Service United defender Lawrence Chaziya, Silver Strikers defender Mark Fodya and midfielder Zebron Kalima.
The other is US-based striker Henri Kumwenda who previously played for the reserve side of English Premier League side Leeds United.