Malawi national football team, the Flames, will this afternoon take on Lesotho’s Likuena (Crocodiles) in an international friendly at Sesoto Stadium in Maseru, Lesotho.
Coach Meke Mwase has promised to let every player have a feel of the match as he is working on different combinations ahead of the forthcoming 2021 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.
Malawi’s 2021 Afcon Group B opening game is against the winner of the preliminary round qualifier between Seychelles and South Sudan next month.
Initially, Malawi and Lesotho were supposed to play two matches, but the first one was cancelled after Fifa cautioned against playing two games within 48 hours.
Mwase said although he would have loved to play two matches, he would make the most of this afternoon’s game.
“We thought we would play two games, but as you might have heard that will not happen. We are okay with that. We will ensure that everyone has a feel of the match.
Having travelled with 22 players, Mwase can play two sets of teams in each half.
“As you can see we have brought the whole squad that played Botswana. We just wanted them to be together so that they understand that we have a very important game in November.
“We need to keep them together so that they know each other better than just staying without playing any friendly. In that way, if anything happens such as injuries, there will be someone ready to replace the player,” he said.
After arriving safely in Maseru on Thursday evening, the Flames had the first training session at Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) ground ahead of the international friendly.
Their second training was yesterday at the same venue.
Newly-appointed Lesotho coach Thabo Sonong, on the other hand, wants to use the friendly game to prepare for their first qualifier against Sierra Leone next month as well as Africa Nations Championship (Chan) game against Zimbabwe.
After getting booted from the 2022 World Cup by Ethiopia, Sonong is leaving no stone unturned in his quest to qualify for Chan and the 2021 Afcon finals.
The 38-year-old former South Africa Under-20 national team coach only had a week to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers against Ethiopia.
The two sides drew 0-0 in Addis Ababa before a 1-1 draw in Maseru for Ethiopia to proceed to the next stage on away goals rule.