Chinese team jets in for Saturday’s match
Chinese Super League side, Guangzhou R&F, jetted into the country on Thursday through Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) and promised nothing short of technical football difficult for the Flames to contain.
The team will play the Malawi National Football Team at the official opening of the Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe on Saturday at a ceremony to be presided over by President Peter Mutharika.
The Flames, with mild technical aptitude in all spaces, face a friendly challenge against a side which would strikingly up its morale ahead of its league kickoff next season, while the Flames obviously have to avoid spoiling the joyful occasion by winning at all costs.
So, albeit being more of a ceremonial match, stakes are high and each side will have to prove a point with home morale pushing the Flames and the long distance travelled being a motivation for the visitors.
Former Serbia midfielder, Dragan Stojkovic, who is now managing Guangzhou R&F, is confident that his side will return home smiling after beating the Flames at their own backyard.
“We play technical football and we want to dominate in all sections. We will be passing the ball around and that is what makes us a great team,” said Stojkovic in an interview at KIA.
The team finished on position six in the Chinese Super League, but to the team manager, even that is no mean achievement as it has some young players who promise greater things.
On the other hand, the Serbian, who made 84 international career appearances, said while his side will be fighting for a win, the bigger picture should be that they are in the country for a friendly match.
“We are very humbled that for the first time, we are in Malawi to play football and this is a sign of friendship. We also want to show Malawian football fans how good the Chinese are at football,” he said.
Ministry of Sports Chief Director, Joseph Mwandidya, who welcomed the team, said the two teams will learn from each other.
“Our team is good and we expect that it will be an entertaining game. I do not know how many goals we are going to score but we are going to win this game,” he said.
On his part, Chinese ambassador to Malawi, Shi-Ting Wang, said the Saturday event means the relationship between Malawi and his country can only continue to grow.
Guangzhou R&F is based in Guangzhou and is owned by Chinese Property Developers, R&F Properties. The club’s English name R&F is short for ‘Rich’ and ‘Force’.
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