Swaziland’s Sihlangu are expected to arrive this afternoon hoping to increase their chances of qualifying for the 2017 Gabon Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) as best runners up.
With Zimbabwe already through to the Gabon finals as Group L winner and Malawi and Guinea out of the picture, a win on Sunday against the Flames, will increase the Sihlangu’s slim chances of making it to the final.
However, the visitors face the Flames, who are equally fired up to regain the nation’s pride after failing to win a game in five Afcon qualifiers.
Caretaker coach Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan, flanked by his captain Limbikani Mzava, yesterday told a press briefing at Mpira House in Chiwembe, Blantyre that the Flames owe the country a lot and victory would help pacify the nation.
Ramadhan said Malawians deserve a victory to ensure that the team finishes the qualifiers with at least one win.
Since 1968, Sihlangu have never beaten the Flames at Kamuzu Stadium and Swaziland coach Harries Bulunga hopes to end their poor away record against Malawi according to Swaziland’s Observer.
Malawi’s biggest win over Sihlangu was in 1987 where they handed the Swazis a 6-1 drubbing.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe coach Calisto Pasuwa has lined up his full squad for their last qualifier against Guinea despite having secured a place at the final.
High-flying Zimbabwe striker Tendai Ndoro said they would love to finish on a high note.
“We want finish on a high note so that it boosts our confidence ahead of the next stage which is the Afcon finals,” Ndoro told The Herald.
“We don’t want to lose the match just because we have already qualified. So we are not going there to relax, but we are going to fight, focused like it is a decider for us and I am sure if we do that we are going to come out victorious.”
Skipper Willard Katsande said he wants Zimbabwe to preserve their unbeaten run in the qualifiers.
“Obviously, we have two things in mind when we go for this game. We need to finish the campaign on a high by avoiding defeat, which is very important for us,” Katsande told The Herald .
“Secondly, we need to use this game as preparation because obviously we don’t have much time together as a team [unlike] at club level where we train everyday and play every week,” he concluded. n