Written by THE BORN FREE
Updated on 08/09/2012
All is set for the Malawi-Ghana clash. Venue: Accra Sports Stadium, Ghana. Kick-off: 5:30 pm Malawi time. Date: September 8, 2012.
The Malawi national team fondly known as the Flames will be taking on the Black stars of Ghana in the first leg of the last qualifying games of the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) which will be hosted by the Rainbow Nation.
Malawi will be going into the field of play as underdogs. It’s 90th on FIFA world ranking while Ghana is number 31st and now the continent’s third best side behind Ivory Coast and Algeria. In addition to this, it’s reported that Ghana is taking the game against Malawi seriously, saying the Flames are a good side and need a resounding victory so that the second leg game to be played in Malawi should only be a mere formality.
Kwessi Appia, head coach of the black stars who is confident that the Flames will be extinguished by all means, told Super Sport: “Malawi has got a good team and it's not going to be easy, but we've also got the calibre of players who can always rise to the occasion.”
Concurring with their mentor is not only lethal striker Asamoah Gyan but also Andre Ayew who is oozing with confidence that they will do what they know best--to humble the Flames in today's encounter.
On the other side Malawi head coach Kinnah Phiri is reported to have sought advice on how to beat Ghana from Zambian head coach Herve Renald whose side beat Ghana twice.
The Flames boss said his side isn’t afraid of better-ranked Ghana.
“Definitely we expect a very tough game. Ghana is not a small team, but with the players that I have, we will make things very difficult for them,” Kinna told BBC Sport. “The Black Stars will work very hard for their money but we will make things very tough for them.”
Such is the hype that always accompanies crucial games like this one but the fact is, football is played in 90 minutes and thereafter a winner is determined. It doesn’t matter which side is good on FIFA rankings or which team has skilled players. What matters is a win.
Today's game is crucial for Malawi. It could be the beginning of the end of 2012 AFCON dream should the team lose. A win means increasing Malawi chances of qualifying as the next leg will be played at home where they could be held to a draw and qualify. An away draw is better than a loss but Malawi must go for a win.
After losing in a friendly match against Liberia on Tuesday, it’s possible that the Flames confidence has been shaken a bit. The team and the coach must be in their best form when they take on the Black Stars.
They need to close all loopholes at the back as the team has a tendency to concede painful goals in the dying minutes which is what happened against Liberia.
It’s being reported defender Harry Nyirenda has joined the squad. We hope this is a boost to the Flames backline of James “Shareholder” Sangala, captain Moses “Luba” Chavula and Limbikani “Pupa” Mzava.
With experienced midfielders like Joseph Shakira Kamwendo, Robert Ng’ambi, Davie Banda, we want great things to happen as they feed lethal-footed Gabadin Mhango and Atusaye Nyondo upfront.
The Maravi Post crew and all Malawians wish the Flames the best of luck.
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