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Flames start Afcon qualifiers against Ethiopia

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Malawi National Football Team kick-start the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers at home against Ethiopia next month.

The Flames were drawn in Group D of the qualifiers alongside Egypt, Ethiopia and Guinea during a draw held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday evening.

According to the fixture which Confederation of African Football (Caf) released yesterday, the Flames would then play two away matches against Guinea and Egypt.

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Thereafter, Malawi will host Egypt in the fourth match of the qualifiers before travelling to Ethiopia.

Malawi’s last match will be a home tie against Guinea.

Flames coach Mario Marinica described the draw as tough.

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“We have to believe in ourselves, stay together and get prepared for the qualifiers. We have chances of qualifying for the finals,” Marinica said.

However, it is not yet known if the Flames would play their home matches on home soil as Caf is yet to inspect Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe.

The Flames played their three home matches in the World Cup qualifiers at Orlando Stadium in South Africa after BNS was declared unfit to host international matches.

Football Association of Malawi is expected to inspect the facility next week.

Two teams from each group will qualify for the finals to be staged in Ivory Coast.

The Flames were knocked out of the 2021 Afcon finals in the round-of-16 following a 2-1 loss to Morocco.

During the finals, Malawi only managed a single win over Zimbabwe in the group stages and lost 1-0 to Guinea and drew 0-0 with Senegal.

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