Flames captain Mzava warns on Morocco friendly
Captain Limbikani Pupa Mzava feels this evening’s friendly against Morocco at Argadir Stadium will give the hosts a chance to spy on the Flames’ tactics ahead of the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier in March next year.
However, his coach Ronny van Geneugden has downplayed the fears.
Morocco lost to Group A leaders Cameroon while Malawi beat Comoros to take the second position.
The battle for qualification is between Malawi, Morocco and Comoros since Cameroon already made it as hosts and Mzava feels the North Africans will benefit more from today’s encounter.
He said: “The idea of playing friendlies is excellent because that is what we lack most of the times and even playing Morocco’s second string side and Togo will be a big plus to us.
“But I am skeptical about the Morocco game because they will feature their reserve side and obviously that means they will send their tacticians to spy on us and see our approach and style since their main team will be taking on Mali [in World Cup qualifiers] and we need to be careful.”
But RVG has a different view.
He said: “I think we shouldn’t read too much into that. Our focus should be on our plans without necessarily focusing on our opponents’ plans. We need to believe in ourselves and execute our plans to perfection. We will also get Morocco’s video clips of their [2018 World Cup qualifier] against Mali in Casablanca [this evening], so that shouldn’t be an issue really.
“They [Morocco] have huge pool of players and, therefore, we should expect tough matches in both games.”
His concern, however, is that fatigue could take its toll on his charges.
The match kicks off at 6pm (Malawi time). Their next match is against Togo’s Hawks on Monday at 4pm (Malawi time).
The bulk of the Flames players, in particular all the nine foreign-based players, arrived on Wednesday night looking exhausted after two-legged 16-hour flights to Casablanca which culminated in a five-hour road trip to Argadir and by the time they checked in at Anezi Tower Hotels and Apartments at around 11pm, they appeared completely worn-out.
“Obviously, the condition of the players is my biggest worry because I expected to have the full squad by Monday, but when the first group arrived here [on Tuesday], I only had seven players.
“Then last night [Wednesday] we had 11 more joining us and the last two [Fletcher Bandawe and Gomezgani Chirwa] will only arrive later today [yesterday],” said the coach in an interview yesterday.
“But we will see. The most important thing is that the team is here and we have secured these two friendly matches which will help us build up from where we left against Comoros [in the 2019 opening Africa Cup of Nations qualifier] as well as the Cosafa Cup.”
Morocco is expected to feature a mixture of their reserve side in preparation for the 2018 Championship of African Nations (Chan) finals as well as 2018 Olympics qualifiers.n