By Mabvuto Kambuwe
Malawi national football team will return to the field this afternoon aiming to break a 14-year jinx when facing Zimbabwe’s Warriors at Mpira Stadium in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre.
This is the first time for the Flames to play an international friendly match at this venue.
Interestingly, the Flames last beat Zimbabwe 1-0 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on October 7 2006 and, this afternoon, the senior side has a chance to break the 14-year jinx as they square up with Warriors.
Since 2006, the two national teams have met six times with Warriors winning five matches while a match ended in a draw.
This afternoon’s clash presents a perfect opportunity for the Flames to salvage pride against the Warriors who arrived
yesterday. The last time when the two sides met at Kamuzu Stadium, it also ended in tears for the Flames as the Warriors came out victors 2-1 in Afcon.
That time, the Warriors had just arrived in the early hours before the match in the afternoon but did the damage on the Flames.
However, ahead of this afternoon’s match, the Flames would want to bounce back
quickly after a 1-0 loss to Zambia’s Chipolopolo Boys in another friendly match on Wednesday. Flames coach Meck Mwase finds himself with a huge
task to break the jinx.
It is obvious that Mwase will give more players a run in this encounter to assess his troops further before dating Burkina
Faso next month. After the loss to Zambia, Mwase said his troops were rusty.
Goalkeeper Brighton Munthali will keep his place between the sticks whereas Stanely Sanudi, Peter Cholopi, Charles Petro and Precious Sambani are likely to start at the back. Upfront, the focus will be on Orlando Pirates striker Frank
Gabadinho Mhango and Las Vegas Lights forward Yamikani Chester.
Zimbabwe national football team coach Zdravko Logarusic named nine local-based players in his 18-member squad to face the Flames. This is the first match for Warriors coach since he was appointed as a coach in January this year.
In this match, the Warriors will be without skipper Knowledge Musona, Tino Kadewere, Tendayi Darikwa, Adam Chicken, Jordan Zemura and Martin Mapusa. But Warriors have named a strong squad comprising Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, Kaizer Chiefs star Khama Billiati, Teenage Hadebe (Yeni Malatyaspor, Alec Mudimu (Sherrif Tiraspol) and Charton Shumba of Polokwane City.
Malawi are preparing for the crucial back-to-back Afcon qualifier against Burkina Faso next year whereas Zimbabwe will meet Algeria. The Flames are third in Group B of the Afcon qualifiers with three points from two games whereas Uganda and Burkina Faso are tied on four points.