Malawi national football team coach Ron Van Geneugden (RVG) has said tomorrow’s game against Cameroon at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre will decide the fate of the Flames in the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) campaign.
Malawi’s campaign suffered a blow after a hard-fought 1-0 loss to the Indomitable Lions in Yaoundé on Friday in the first leg as Morocco beat Coromos by the same margin to rise to position two in Group B.
But RVG is optimistic that the Flames could turn the tables should they beat Cameroon tomorrow.
“We still have three games to go. For sure after Tuesday’s game it’s when people should start asking whether we have chances or not to qualify,” he said.
RVG also hinted on banking his hopes on Cameroon to do a favour to Malawi by beating Morocco.
“The game between Cameroon and Morocco will also be the group decider so we still have a chance,” he said
The Belgium expatriate applauded his charges’ performance in Yaoundé, saying they put up a gallant fight against a team full of Europe based professionals.
“The young group of players played with tactical discipline and patriotism although most of the players play in the local league while most of Cameroon players play in Europe,” he said.
The beleaguered coach has also called on fans to rally behind the team in the spirit of solidarity and patriotism.
Former Silver Strikers general secretary Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda also said in a Whats- app interview that chances are there to beat Cameroon.
“Cameroon are no longer indomitable. They have previously been beaten by lowly ranked teams. They failed to qualify for Afcon finals in 2012, 2013, 2015 and the World Cup finals in 2018,” Nyirenda said.
He added: “ There are chances we can beat them at home provided we properly utilise our home ground advantage and we properly select our first 11. We need a tactical approach to the game.”
Soccer analyst George Kaudza Masina, however, said the loss in Yaoundé dampened the Flames’ realistic chances of qualifying for their third finals after 1984 and 2010.
“Technically, we are out of the campaign. Morocco’s victory over Comoros has shown that they are a better team,” he said.
“Our chances are beginning to get slimmer. But we should give credit to the boys for the gallant fight. Unfortunately, the group being paired against two big teams did not favour us.”
Group B will only produce one qualifier should Cameroon, hosts of the finals, finish in the top two.
But two teams could qualify in the event that Cameroon , currently leading the group with seven points drops to three. n