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Flames in pot 3

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Malawi National Football Team has been placed in pot three of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers whose draw is scheduled for Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday.

Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced on Friday that the competition’s finals will run from June 23- July 23 next year in Cote d’lvoire.

Other teams in pot three are Namibia, Mauritania, Guinea- Bissau, Niger, Mozambique, Togo, Zimbabwe, Gambia, Angola and Comoros.

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This means the Flames will face one of the top-ranked teams such as Senegal, Morocco, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Cameroon, Algeria, Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Pot two comprises South Africa, Uganda, Gabon, Zambia, Kenya, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Benin, Cape Verde, Guinea and Congo.

The Flames are also likely to face least-ranked teams from pot 4, which has Tanzania, Central African Republic, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, eSwatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Liberia and South Sudan.

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The seedings are based on March 31 Fifa rankings.

“According to the Fifa official ranking issued on March 31 2022, the 48 teams qualified to participate in the 2nd round of the TotalEnergies Afcon Cote d’Ivoire 2023,’’ reads part of Caf’s official announcement.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said they were waiting for official communication from Caf.

The qualifiers will have 12 groups comprising four teams each.

Malawi qualified for the 2021 Afcon finals under former coach Meck Mwase after finishing second in Group B of the qualifiers with 10 points, just two behind group winners Burkina Faso.

Uganda and South Sudan failed to make it from the group.

But ahead of the qualifiers, Fam have sacked Mwase and replaced him with Marian Mario Marinica, who ceased to be the technical director as a result.

Ahead of the qualifiers, Caf organising committee has approved modifications to the June 2022 window.

Following the changes, the teams will play only two matches during the June window instead of four as earlier announced.

The teams will also play two matches each between September 19 and 27. The qualifiers will be concluded in March next year.

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