Malawi National Beach Soccer Team Coach Willy Kumilambe says his troops are favourites to progress to the 2022 Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals to be staged in Mozambique later this year.
The team started the Beach Soccer Afcon qualifiers with a narrow 3-2 victory over Tanzania at Sunbird Livingstonia in Salima District on Saturday.
In a post-match interview, Kumilambe said, despite the narrow victory, his charges have 70 percent chances of reaching the Promised Land.
“We are one foot into the Afcon finals. Destiny is in our hands. At the moment, we have to work on weaknesses and prepare well for the second leg,” Kumilambe said.
The two teams will face each other in two weeks, with the overall winner booking a place at next year’s Afcon finals next year.
History will be written if Malawi qualify for their first ever beach soccer finals, so long as they get a good result in Tanzania.
Isaac Kajamu scored a brace after Sandram Saddie netted the opener whereas Goodluck Gama also hammered a brace.
Kumilambe said the team started the match on a low as the majority of the players were playing their first ever international match.
“We gave them too much respect and it took time for the players to settle down. But I am sure that we will get a good result in Tanzania,” Kumilambe said.
Tanzania Coach Boniface Pawasa said he has studied Malawi and that the second encounter will be a different match.
“From the first match, I have observed the weaknesses and strengths of the Malawi team. I am going to sort out issues in the second encounter and I will inform my boys about my observations,” Pawasa.
The match between Malawi and Tanzania attracted a sizeable crowd in Salima. It was the first international beach soccer match on home soil since the sport was introduced in 2007.
Fourteen teams will qualify for the Afcon finals. Mozambique already qualified for the finals by virtue of being hosts.