Flames coach Young Chimodzi will have no excuse should the team fail to deliver against Zimbabwe Warriors tomorrow in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Kamuzu Stadium.
Chimodzi said the Flames have had the best preparations every coach would ask for and that the ball is now in their court to get the job done.
The Flames have played seven games ahead of tomorrow’s tie, including three Cosafa Cup matches.
“We have had the best preparations and I thank [Football Association of Malawi] for providing us with resources that enabled us to have thorough preparations.
“We have managed to assemble a strong squad for the Afcon qualifiers and there are no excuses. I hope the players will also rise to the occasion,” said Chimodzi.
The Flames mentor said the seven games have helped him to assess and mould players such as Gerald Phiri Jnr, Micium Mhone and Yamikani Fodya who are now ready for the big stage.
Chimodzi’s sentiments come two weeks after FAM stated that the coach and his backroom staff would have no excuse if they failed to perform at the Cosafa Cup which was one of the targets set for him.
FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda yesterday said FAM has spent K105 million on preparations.
Malawi first played Tanzania in a game which ended one-all they lost to Zambia 2-0. The third was a training match against South Africa which they lost 2-1.
They took part in the Cosafa Cup where they lost to Mozambique through post-match penalties (5-4) after being held two-all in regulation time.
They picked themselves up to excel in the Plate phase in which they beat South Africa 5-4 in post-match penalties before pipping Zambia 1-0 in the final match. The Flames final preparatory match was against Egypt last week which they lost 2-1.
The Flames played none of the build-up matches at home.
In contrast, Zimbabwe have only played three matches (at the Cosafa Cup tournament) where they beat Seychelles (1-0) and Mauritius (2-0), but crashed out after losing to eventual winners Namibia 4-1.
Meanwhile, board of the Malawi National Council of Sports James Chuma said Malawians should support the Flames throughout the game.
“This is our team and we have to support it,” he said.