The odds are overwhelmingly stacked against the Flames when they face Ghanaâ€™s Black Stars this evening in a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final qualification round, first leg.
They will have to fight every inch of the way to get a result and keep their qualification hopes on the boil.
The Flames have generally been poor travellers and it will take something special to get a result in the cauldron of Accra Sports Stadium in the Ghanaian capital. The game starts at 5.30pm local time.
While it appears a tall order for the Flames, coach Kinnah Phiri and his charges have vowed to fight with solid determination against the second best ranked team on the continent; in its own fortress.
â€˜Victory could be a bonusâ€™
Kinnah and his vice-captain Joseph â€˜Shakiraâ€™ Kamwendo conceded in the countdown to this clash that while it would be difficult to beat the Black Stars, the target is certainly not beyond them.
Said Kinnah: â€œIt is not a secret that we are facing one of the best teams on the continent, but while we have so much respect for the Ghanains, we do not fear them and we are determined to take them on.â€
He said while a victory could be a bonus, he will be satisfied to earn a point in Accra.
He said the fact that they held a full-strength Ghana to a goalless draw as both teams tuned-up for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, gives him confidence.
â€œGhana were then a far much better side and they were even the only African team to qualify for the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup,â€ he said.
Kinnah also said the Flames can draw a lot of inspiration from neighbours Zambia who have beaten Ghana twice in competitions this year.
â€œI also learnt a lot from Zambiaâ€™s coach [Herve Renard] on how to handle Ghana and if we play according to game-plan, then I am confident that we can get a result,â€ he said.
On his approach in todayâ€™s match, Kinnah said: â€œWe will be positive. We will not allow them to knock the ball around and we will try to restrict them to play in their own half and hope to catch them off-guard through counter-attacks.â€
Kamwendo said the Flames are determined to give world football its cinderella tale of the year with a stunning result.
â€œApart from boosting our qualification chances, if we win, there will be massive opportunities for the young players who have been coming through the system, especially those who still play at home and have been doing well in their games for the national team,â€ said Kamwendo.
But what are the chances for the Flames?
â€œThis is not an exhibition game. There is a lot at stake and people back home expect us to put up a good show and, much as we appreciate the fact that we are underdogs, we will give out our best,â€ he said.
Renowned local soccer commentator Charles Nyirenda said it is going to be a tough task for the Flames.
â€œItâ€™s going to be really tough playing away without John Banda who has been scoring regularly of late. But then the solace is that Flames are solid at the back and in midfield.
â€œWe are out there with a team that has just been built, but has shown a lot of potential. However, we are up against a team who are favourites,â€ said Nyirenda.
â€˜To take risksâ€™
He advised Kinnah and his charges to take the risks.
â€œThey should try to take the game to Ghana and prevent them from penetrating into the 18-yard, especially the Ayew brothers [Andre and Jordan] who are always dangerous operating from the wings,â€ he said.
Nyirenda also said a draw or a loss by a narrow margin would still be a good result for the Flames.
Ghanaâ€™s coach Kwesi Appiah said they will not underestimate the threat of the Flames. Appiah also said he is aware that his side is up against a tricky opponent.
Ghana are ranked 32nd on the Fifa Coca Cola World Rankingsâ€”58 places above the Flames.
Apart from the Ayew brothers, Ghanaâ€™s other key player is Asamoah Gyan. They also have over 15 other foreign-based players.
The Flames are tipped to apply a 4-5-1 formation they used in Liberia where they lost 1-0 on Tuesday night.
Kamwendo, who has returned to his prime form, is expected to be at the hub of the Flamesâ€™ moves in midfield and, crucially, remains the most consistently incise passer. He will be aided by Dave Banda and either Robert â€˜Baggioâ€™ Ngâ€™ambi or Chimango Kaira whereas Frank Banda and Peter Wadabwa are tipped to orchestrate play down the flanks.
Youthful Gabadinho Mhango has combined brilliance with consistency and has torn many a defence to shreds with his unpredictable runs and although Kinnah insists he will again start from the bench, he could be thrown in as the game progresses. Robin Ngalande is most likely to start as a lone striker.
Following is the probable line-up: Simplex Nthala, James Sangala, Limbikani Mzava, Harry Nyirenda, Moses Chavula (C), Dave Banda, Frank Banda, Kamwendo, Wadabwa, Kaira, Ngalande or Gabadinho.