The Flames have been drawn in a tough 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying group during a live draw conducted yesterday at SuperSport television channel studios in Johannesburg, South Africa.
They have been placed in Group D alongside six times Afcon champions Egypt, Guinea and Ethiopia.
The Flames last faced Egypt in a competitive match in 2008 when the two sides were in the same group in World Cup qualifiers in which they stunned the Pharaohs 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium, but lost 2-0 in Cairo.
The two sides have met 10 times and the Flames have won three, lost five while other two ended in draws.
Two of the matches were friendly in 2009 which ended one-all and in 2015 when Egypt won 2-1 both in Cairo.
The Flames face Guinea again after they were in the same group at the 2021 Afcon finals in Cameroon where Syli Nationale narrowly won 1-0 in the opening match at the tournament.
Guinea and Malawi were also in the same group in the 2016 Afcon qualifiers and the Flames held Syli Nationale 0-0 in Conakry, but lost 2-1 at Kamuzu Stadium.
The Flames have played Guinea nine times, winning once 2-1 in 2009 and lost four times and drew four times as well.
The last time Malawi and Ethiopia, the other group D member, faced each other in Afcon qualifiers was in 2014 when teh Flames beat the Walia Ibex 3-2 at Kamuzu Stadium, but drew 0-0 in the return leg.
Ethiopia, however, beat Malawi 4-0 in a friendly last year in March.
Reacting to the draw, Flames coach Marion Marinica said it will all the three opponents are better than Malawi.
He said: “It is a very tough group. Egypt is a fantastic team with fantastic players. Guinea also have a much better team compaired to us. Even Ethiopia, if you look at the last match we played, they won 4-0. All the three teams have an upper hand against Malawi. So it’s not going to be easy.”
SuperSport’s Thomas Mulambo was the director of ceremonies during the draw procedure with South Africa’s Bafana Bafana legend Lucas Radebe and Ivory Coast legend Solomon Kalou as draw assistants and CAF competitions director Samson Adam as draw master.
After the draw, Kalou said there will be no easy games in all the groups.
The first legs for the qualifiers kick off on May 30.