Malawi national football team caretaker coach Meke Mwase wants his charges to have self belief as the Flames face e-Swatini’s Sihlangu this afternoon in a first-round second leg of the Championship of African Nations (Chan) at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
After a goalless draw in Manzini, e-Swatini, the pressure shifts to Flames, who must win at all costs as any goals draw, would mean their exit the competition which is competed for by players from local leagues.
A goalless draw would force the game into post-match penalties, a thing Mwase said would even put more pressure on the players.
The coach, who noted that his players lacked confidence in the first leg, said the Flames comprising the cream of TNM Super League, has potential of incinerating Sihlangu only if they have self belief.
“We have been working on scoring because that has been a challenge. We are looking forward to winning this game. We have told the players that this is the time to win. We played out a goalless draw away and now we will be at home. We need to be confident when playing at home,” said the former Flames defender.
Mwase is expected to make a few changes following injuries to six players Patrick Phiri, Peter Banda, Alfred Manyozo Jnr, Peter Cholopi, Dennis Chembezi and Chikoti Chirwa.
The coach hinted on deploying an attacking system in search for the much needed goals.
Khuda Muyaba and Chiukepo Msowoya will likely partner in attack with Mike Mkwate playing behind the strikers while Micium Mhone and Duncan Nyoni could get the nod as wingers.
Nyasa Big Bullets holding midfielder Chimango Kayira, who had a late call-up to replace injured Chirwa, will likely start as the Red Lions captain faces late fitness test.
At the back, the coach will likely deploy John Lanjesi, Gomezgani Chirwa, Stanley Sanudi and Trevor Kalema while Ernest Kakhobwe will man the goals.
Striker Msowoya has promised that the players will die a little for their country.
“This match is very important to us. We know that the nation is banking on us to deliver and we will not disappoint them. We urge supporters to come in large numbers and cheer for the team,” he said.
Mwase’s counterpart Kostadin Papic, on the other hand, has kept his faith in the team that held Malawi in the first leg.
The Serbian’s squad is dominated by MTN League giants Young Buffaloes.
The team has Mamba Siboniso, Mkhonta Lindo, Mamba Siboniso, Matsenjwa Lindani, Shabangu Wandile , Mamba Fanelo, Gamedze Sandile all from the MTN champions.
Sihlangu, who dominated ball possession and created more scoring opportunities in the first leg, will bank their hopes on Mbabane Swallows striker Sabelo ‘Sikhali’ Ndzinisa while injured Manzini Sundowns stars Muhle Shiba and Phumlani Dlamini are ruled out.
E-swatini are currently on position 141 against Malawi’s 129 on the Fifa rankings.
The last time e-Swatini, then Swaziland showed up at Kamuzu Stadium, Malawi narrowly triumphed 1-0 through a Gerald Phiri Jnr set piece in Group L 2017 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier after the first leg had ended two-all in Manzini.