The Flames are at the summit of Group D of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers following their 2-1 win over Ethiopia on Sunday.
After Match Day One, Malawi top the four-team group on goal aggregate as they are tied with Egypt’s Pharaohs who beat Guinea’s Syli Nationale 1-0 at home.
Flames striker Frank Gabadinho Mhango tops the scorers’ chart in the group following his brace through penalties.
Ethiopia’s Abubaker Nasiri Ahmed, who also scored through a penalty, and Egypy’s Mostafa Mohamed have a goal each.
Flames coach Mario Marinica and Mhango said the win was vital.
Said Marinica: “It is always important to start such campaigns with a win, especially when playing at home. Now we have to go to Guinea and fight for a positive result which won’t be easy at all.”
He said he expects the Syli Nationale, who lost their first match, to come flat out in search of a win.
Marinica also admitted that they were up “against a fantastic, Ethiopian team”.
On his part, Mhango said the win has given them a huge boost going into their second match.
He said: “The fans made a big difference today, the atmosphere was great, I have never experienced anything like this. It was amazing. Now we have switched focus to the Guinea match which won’t be easy but we will fight.”
Reacting to observations that the Flames were not in control in Sunday’s match, the South Africa-based forward said: “You can put it that way, but at the end of the day what matters is three points, not necessarily flowery football and we got what we wanted. Having said that there’s room for improvement.”
Meanwhile, the Flames left yesterday for Guinea for their second Group D match against them on Thursday while Ethiopia host Egypt at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on the same day as Confederation of African Football their national stadium for failing to meet minimum requirements to host international competitive matches.