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Flames gear for Morocco

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Malawi National Football Team Friday relocated from Bana to Yaoundé in Cameroon ahead of Tuesday’s Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 tie against Morocco slated for Ahidjo Stadium on Tuesday.

Flames, who played all their Group B games at the 20,000 seater Kouekong Stadium, will now experience the 90,000 capacity Ahidjo Stadium.

Flames Interim-boss Mario Marinica said it was a wasted day as they had no time to train Friday.

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Nevertheless, Marinica’s focus was on their Round of 16 opponents, Morocco who hold an astonishing record over the Flames.

Marinica described Morocco as the most in-form team of the tournament.

“They are unbeaten in the last 30 games and they recently beat Equatorial Guinea 3-0 and Sudan 3-0 before claiming a 2-all draw against Gabon. They might not have [Saido] Mane or [Naby] Keita but 80 percent of their players play in Europe. They will be hard and tough on us but we will see. We have few days to prepare for them,” Marinica said.

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Flames and the Atlas Lions have met 10 times between 1985 and 2019, with Morocco winning six games while three ended in draws. Malawi won once.

Morocco, who have made 14 Afcon finals appearances, made their continental showpiece debut in 1972 and won it for the first time in 1976. They finished as runners up in 2004 and they are coached by Vahid Halilhodžić from Bosnia.

Among their star players are Paris Saint-Germain fullback Achraf Hakimi and Watford marksman Adam Masina.

This is the third time that the Flames have qualified for Afcon finals, having made their debut in 1984 (Ivory Coast) before making their second appearance in 2010 (Angola).

On both occasions, the Flames were dumped out in the group stages.

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