By Mabvuto Kambuwe:
Malawi national football team will start the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualification campaign in the preliminary rounds as their third level seeding only applies to the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
Africa’s draw for the qualifiers will be held at Confederation of African Football (Caf) headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, on July 27.
According to a Caf statement, only 26 highest ranked teams will be exempted from the preliminary rounds.
Ranked 33 in Africa and 126 in the world, the Flames will for the second time start the World Cup qualifiers from the preliminary round.
“The highest ranked teams, according to Fifa rankings, will be exempted from the preliminary round, leaving 28 participating teams in that round. Of these 28 teams, the 14 highest ranked teams according to the Fifa ranking will play against the 14 least ranked teams.Advertisement
“The 14 winning teams of the preliminary round will join the 26 exempted in the group stage and will be divided into 10 groups of four teams. The draw of the groups will be based on the seeding of the 40 teams into four levels according to the official ranking of Fifa. Each group will contain a team from each level,” reads part of the statement
“The first legs of the preliminary rounds are expected to be played in September with the group stages starting between March 23 and 31.”
Flames coach, Meck Mwase, said his team needs thorough preparations.
“We are seeded in Afcon but in the World Cup qualifiers, it is a different story because the competitions are also different. What we need between now and September is adequate preparations so that we qualify for the group stages,” Mwase said.
The Afcon and World Cup qualifiers will be Mwase’s real tests after he impressed as Flames interim coach during this year’s Cosafa Cup held in South Africa in June.
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