Junior Flames coach Patrick ‘General’ Mabedi says he expects his charges to start strongly against Namibia in their Cosafa Under-20 Championship showdown this afternoon.
Malawi Under-20 national football team goes into its second match at Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa with a spring in their step as they jointly sit proudly at the summit of Group B with three points alongside champions Zambia.
The Junior Flames struck a late priceless winner against Comoros Islands in their opening match on Friday while the Zambians also saw off Namibia with a 1-0 victory.
The former Flames captain on Sunday challenged his players to show “a little more hunger” after a disappointing performance in their opener.
He said: “This will be a crucial match because it could determine our destiny in the competition. So, we need to go flat out for a win.
“In the opening match, we couldn’t keep the ball and our wingers lost possession needlessly.
“Communication was also a challenge, especially upfront added to that, we were not composed in front of goal.
“But we have worked on those areas and I expect a much improved performance against Namibia.”
Mabedi also said he expects his players to make use of their chances.
Malawi created a plethora of chances against Comoros, but failed to make them count.
Captain Hadji Wali said they are determined to improve on their performance.
He said: “The coaches have done their part in working on our shortfalls and the rest is left with us.
“If we play according to game plan and apply what the coaches have told us, then we will get a good result,” he said.
Namibia coach James Britz was quoted by www.xinhuanet.com on Saturday as having said that he is confident they will bounce back in this afternoon’s showdown..
He said: “We just have to rectify the mistake we made against Zambia. We need to attack more and put away our chances.
“We do believe that we can make it to the next round as the boys are mentally and physically fit.
“Our target is to reach the semi-finals. The boys are confident and the spirit in the team is very good.”
The Junior Flames have never won the tournament, but reached the final in 2003 in which they lost to Zambia 4-0.
Their last group match will be against Zambia on Wednesday.
Only the top team in each pool, as well as the best-placed runner-up, advance to the semi-finals, while the two finalists will earn a place at the continental CAF Under-20 showpiece in Mauritania next year.