By Mphatso Malidadi:
After almost two years of missing international action, life returns to Blantyre’s Kamuzu Stadium this afternoon as Malawi take on African champions Cameroon in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
The general feeling among Malawians is that the soccer mecca is the right place for the Flames to ruin the Indomitable Lions’ aspirations of finishing at the summit of Group B, which they lead with seven points.
Lions are, by nature, ferocious predators out in the wild but, when put in a cage, they become vulnerable, with nowhere to hide.
That cage is Kamuzu Stadium where the Flames hide the fire that can burn the king of the jungle to ashes.
The two teams met on Friday in Yaounde where Cameroon squeezed to a narrow 1-0 win.
Defeat for Malawi would effectively put their dreams of qualifying for next year’s finals for the third time in serious jeopardy.
It will be the first time for the Flames Coach Ronny van Geneugden (RVG) to lead the Flames at a stadium which has hosted many of memorable games in Malawi’s history.
It is not surprising, therefore, that RVG has called on Flames supporters to make the atmosphere intimidating by jeering Cameroon’s every move and cheering the Flames.
“We will play with the 12th man as they call it in football. I hope the fans will be excited and support the young team that we are building.
“Our performance against Cameroon on Friday must give everyone hope. This is a young team and it needs support. This team is growing and I am sure that, with support from all sectors, it can develop to unprecedented levels,” he said.
RVG said playing at home gives him the chance to effect changes on the line-up as there is need to approach the game differently to get a result.
Malawi, having defeated Comoros Islands 1-0 last year, are stuck on third position with three points following 0-1 and 0-3 defeats to Cameroon and Morocco, respectively.
Cameroon top the table having defeated Malawi and Morocco and drawn with Comoros.
The Indomitable Lions have injury concerns with scorer of the lone goal in Yaoundé, Eric Choupo Moting of French side PSG, and Brighton defender Gaetan Bong being doubtful for Clarence Seedorf’s charges.
Christian Bassogog, who missed the Yaoundé match on Friday, is also doubtful for today’s match because of injury.
Cameroon qualify automatically for the finals by virtue of being hosts but speaking to the media on Thursday last week ahead of Friday’s match, Seedorf said he would like his team to finish at the top of the table.
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