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Conakry here we come


Mario Marinica

Flames coach Marian Mario Marinica has been challenged to make changes to his starting line-up that beat Ethiopia when facing Guinea in the second match of Group D 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier Thursday.

The Flames arrived in Conakry, Guinea, Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s showdown, having spent a night in Addis Ababa before proceeding to the West African nation.

Sports analyst Kelvin Moyo said he expects changes from Marinica for the away match.

“He will obviously make changes. During these home and away games, it is always necessary to have a game plan. I expect players like Francisco Madinga to start due to his work rate,” Moyo said.

Sports analyst Parley Chinyama echoed the sentiments.

“It is a must for Marinica to change the starting line-up. Away matches are always tough; so, we need players who can keep possession,” Chinyama said.

The fixture against Guinea comes just four days after The Flames defeated Ethiopia 2-1 at Bingu National Stadium on Sunday.

However, despite the win, The Flames were exposed in midfield where Marinica featured Captain John Banda, Gerald Phiri Junior and Chimwemwe Idana.

Marinica used 4-3-3 system against Ethiopia as Gabadinho Mhango played alongside Stain Davie and Khuda Muyaba upfront.

Fatigue could be another concern for Marinica as the total flight duration from Addis Ababa is estimated at seven hours 39 minutes.

This means The Flames will only have a day to recuperate before Thursday’s match.

Malawi and Guinea were also in the same group during the delayed 2021 Afcon finals in Cameroon early this year but the latter won 1-0.

Following victory, The Flames are top Group D with three points at par with Egypt, who also defeated Guinea 1-0 on Sunday night.

A win or a draw for Malawi will be a good result in their mission to qualify for next year’s finals to be staged in Ivory Coast.

All the four teams in Group D qualified for the 2021 edition. In another Group D match, Ethiopia host Egypt at BNS.

Malawi will face Egypt away and home in September before meeting Ethiopia away and Guinea at home in March next year.

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