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Flames rise 14 places on Fifa ladder

MZUZU--There's good news in the air—Malawi’s Flames who in recent times were seen flickering down the Fifa world rankings, are rising again and getting stronger tanks to their latest exploits on the world and continental football scene which has seen them forcing a 1-all draw against Nigeria and beating Chad 2-0.

For achieving this feat, the world football governing body has rewarded the Flames by pushing them an unprecedented 14 places up the Coco-Cola Fifa rankings to position 93 from 107 last month, according to the latest statistics posted on the organisation’s official website on Wednesday.

The Flames have also moved three steps up on the continental rankings from 27th last month to 24th this month.

The development is a huge relief to the local football fraternity who in the past six months could not believe their beloved team’s drab performance that led to their downward trend, moving out the top 100 teams’ bracket.

But suddenly they are there again with a chance to soar even higher should they beat the Africa Cup of Nations champions Zambia in July 6 international friendly organised as part of Malawi’s 48th Independence Anniversary which this year will be marked by prayers and not festivities.

The Zambians, who arrived in the country for the friendly Wednesday evening, also moved two places up from 39th to 41st position in the world and rated 6th in Africa.

Beating the Chipolopolo boys would certainly spur the Flames to greater heights and should put them in a much better frame of mind as they prepare to face Ghana at home and away in the next round of the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Flames opponents were known last evening after results of a draw conducted by the Confederation of African Football were announced in Johannesburg, South Africa.

On Wednesday, Flames coach Kinnah Phiri, who did not attend the draw, told a local daily newspaper that he would earnestly follow the draw on TV, but emphasised that whatever the outcome, he was not afraid of any team.

“We have beaten giants such as Algeria, Egypt and guinea before and with thorough preparations, I am optimistic we can make it to the finals,” The Nation quoted Kinnah as saying.  
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