Written by JOE CHIBEWA
LILONGWE--While Malawi’s Flames are taking it easy and relaxing, Ghana’s Black Stars are not taking any chances and have reportedly booked an international friendly against China next month in preparation for September’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final qualification round first leg against the Flames.
But, as usual, the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) is not losing sleep over their opponents’ preparedness, saying there is no cause for worry as it has also stepped up the drive to arrange a strength testing match against an identified team. According to a BBC report, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) annnonced this week that the Black Stars will face China on August 15 in Beijing.
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda has said they are in the process of finalising an international friendly match for the Flames. “There is no cause for worry as we are working out something and we should come out clear with the details pertaining to the friendly by next week,’’ The Nation newspaper, quoted Nyirenda as saying in an interview Tuesday.
However, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu has said Ghana’s announcement that they will play China next month comes as a surprise in the wake of the Confederation of African Football (CAF’s) announcement that August 15 has been struck out from Fifa’s calendar for international friendlies.
“We have heard about that and it comes as a great surprise and there appears to be conflicting message because CAF are saying August 15 is no longer on Fifa calendar. We are also pursuing a friendly match around the same time because we do not want to be caught unawares,” Nyamilandu told the paper.
He added that FAM is doing its best to secure an international friendly match to flex up for the Ghanaians, whom he downplayed as going to China “merely on an excursion. On his part, Flames coach Kinnah Phiri is only hoping FAM will succeed in securing an international strength-testing match.
But he too said he was not fazed Ghana playing China ahead of their clash with the Flames. “I am just hoping that things will work out as planned and that we should be able to play a friendly match before we face them,” Kinnah tolf The Nation in a separate interview.
Recently, Ghana FA president Kwesi Nyantakyi said Ghana would prepare for Malawi as if they were playing Brazil. “We are going to play them as if we were playing Brazil, England, Zambia or Egypt or any of Africa’s top teams,” Nyantakyi told BBC sport.
“The preparations we will put in place will in no way underrate Malawi.” He added: “On paper, Ghana stands streets ahead of Malawi—we have the track record. We’ve been to the Nations Cup so many times, we have won it four times, we’ve been to two successful World Cups, Malawi has none of this.
“But we must also lace our optimism with caution that there can be surprises at any time. Who expected CAR (Central African Republic) to beat seven-time champions Egypt? ” “We know Malawi can qualify, so complacency will not be part of our vocabulary.”
See the difference? That’s how serious nations prepare when they have important assignments ahead—no complacency! And Malawi? They are not losing any sleep yet.
There is still time, they believe. They don’t even know who their next opponents are for a friendly to measure their strength against Ghana. My foot!
©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.