Football analysts have warned the Flames need against complacency when they meet Uganda’s Cranes in a match that will determine the winner of the remaining Group B qualification slot for the 2022 Afcon finals.
The Flames host the Cranes, who just need a draw to sail to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Cameroon next year, at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Monday.
In an interview soccer analyst George Chiusiwa said the Flames should tread carefully to avoid Malawi’s usual habit of last-minute mistakes.
He said: “The tie is tricky as Uganda will come flat out hunting for nothing short of a win or draw to qualify for the 2022 Afcon grand feast in Cameroon. The players should be prepared to handle the game as usual but with extra caution technically, mentally and psychologically.”
But Chiusiwa said while playing it safe, Malawi should not sit back in the encounter.
He said: “While technical caution should be exercised, Mwase shouldn’t prepare the team to sit back or retreat since Malawi needs the goals ultimately in order to chalk a win.
“The team needs to deploy an offensive approach since the Cranes will be looking for just a draw to qualify and the visitors may sit back to force a stalemate.”
Chiusiwa also said Football Association of Malawi (FAM) officials should avoid putting the players under pressure through their media frenzy.
He said: “The FAM officials shouldn’t meddle into the team’s final preparations by distracting the players with a lot of talk and engagements while in camp for the Monday battle.”
Another soccer analyst Felix Ngamanya Sapao said Uganda will rely on experience to defuse Malawi.
He said: “Uganda is an experienced team which has been at the last two Afcon finals in the past six years. Malawi has not conceded at home in five matches, but this one is different. Malawi needs not to concede, but also needs to score.”
Sapao said this could be the last chance for the current generation of players to make it to the Afcon finals.
Commenting on the matter, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the association will not pledge any special bonus for the Flames players.
He said qualification to the Cameroon finals should be enough to motivate the players to work hard and win the game.
Nyamilandu said: “Qualification for the 2022 Afcon finals is the biggest incentive for the players.”
Nyamilandu said he was confident that the Flames will beat Uganda to qualify for the continental football showcase following the team’s impressive performance against South Sudan.
Nyamilandu said: “It was a solid performance. We could have scored even three goals. Suddenly, hopes are high and expectation is huge.”
On his part coach Meck Mwase said the technical panel and the players are aware of the huge responsibility on their head.
“Just like we said before the South Sudan match, Malawians should put their trust in us to deliver the expected results,” he said.
Meanwhile, Uganda assistant coach Abdallah Mubiri has declared that the Cranes are coming to Blantyre to finish the job after holding Burkina Faso in Kampala.
He said: “We knew it would not end here in Kampala against Burkina Faso.
“Even if we had won against Burkina Faso, we would still need a point in Malawi because we would have 10 points.
“Losing to Malawi would then mean they also have 10 points and we would be out. So, we knew either way that we would have to finish the job in Malawi.”