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Bumpy road to 2019 Afcon

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It is a must that whoever is earmarked for the Malawi National Football Team’s coaching job should, a note pad and ball pen in hand, take it upon himself to study the unfolding Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Gabon.

On the first page of his note pad, this European or South American, while watching the ongoing Afcon finals, should write: (i) How to stiffle Cameroon’s attacks. (ii)How to outwit Herve Renard of Morocco.

Come June when the qualifiers for 2019 Afcon get underway, the Flames will meet the Atlas Lions and the Indomitable Lions, who are in the thick of things in Gabon.

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Therefore, tournament is providing an insight of what the Flames can expect in group B whose fourth team will be determined by an outcome of a meeting between Mauritius and Comoros.

It is important to study Renard’s Atlas Lions and the Indomitable Lions who stand in the Flames’ way to the next Afcon finals.

Morocco and Cameroon are active, they have quality players and coaches whereas the Flames last kicked the ball in September 2016.

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Winners of the 12 qualifying groups and best three runners-up will qualify for tournament with hosts Cameroon.

If Cameroon top the group, the runners-up will qualify; if the Indomitable Lions finish as runners-up, the winners will qualify; if they finish third or fourth, the winners will qualify and the runners-up will compete for one of the three additional places.

The Flames will begin their journey in the qualifiers in June or four months from now. The Super League only kicks off in April and the coach is not yet available.

And so is the money as Football Association of Malawi (Fam) exhausted its K35 million annual allocation from the government.

Whatever the case, Fam President Walter Nyamilandu and his politburo have agreed on one thing—they want an expatriate coach “to instill a playing philosophy in the team.”

A coaching philosophy is the blue print for every coach to follow, states www. letsplatthegame.co.uk.

“Developing your coaching philosophy isn’t a quick process,” adds the website.

The next coach will, in four months, be expected to familiarise himself with the domestic football climate, the Super League, select players and instill in them playing a philosophy for the team to deliver.

Not an easy task.

Malawi crashed out of the race for the 2017 Afcon qualifiers after a miserable run of one win, three defeats and two draws or with five points from a possible 18.

In the 2015 qualifiers, Malawi finished third in the group comprising Algeria, Ethiopia and Mali with seven points. In the 2012 qualifiers, Malawi missed out on qualification after collecting two wins and six draws.

In the previous qualifiers, Malawi had a relatively strong team. That is not the case now. Yet the Flames need versatile defenders capable of thwarting an Indomitable Lion called Vincent Aboubakar of Beskitas in Turkey.

For Morocco, the record for their coach Renard is there for all to see. Malawi have not defeated Cameroon and Morocco in over 20 years. To make it to Afcon, you need to grind out results on the road. The Flames rarely win away in competitive games.

Nonetheless, Fam believes that anything is possible in football. However, no one is disputing the fact that the Flames have a tall order.

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