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Flames start the Afcon campaign

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Flames take on Zimbabwe this afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium in 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Malawi News Sports Editor Joy Ndovi analyses the players that matter in the squad.

McDonald Harawa

Man between the posts. He is imposing and when in the mood, takes no prisoners. But he is sometimes prone to lapses that become costly. His impressive performance at Cosafa Cup should be a motivation.

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Limbikani Mzava

He has been partnering Lucky Malata in the central defence in the strength testing matches and at Cosafa Cup. But following the arrival of Harry Nyirenda, coach Chimodzi has to change his back four. He could partner Nyirenda, or move to the right back position to replace Lanjesi.

Yamikani ‘Soul Brother’ Fodya/ Francis Mlimbika

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After years of being underrated, Fodya, christened the Soul Brother by South Africa media, has finally announced his arrival at international stage. He has emerged as strong contender against Francis Mlimbika who was getting comfortable on the left back position. In this match Chimodzi’s dilemma is whether to start Soul Brother or FM.

Lucky Malata

Malawi’s vice captain. He saves Malawi in some difficult situations. But his blunders are also costly. In this match Chimodzi can afford to let his vice captain sit on the bench following the arrival of Harry Nyirenda.

Micium Mhone

Micium has been in the Flames set up since he was 15 while in Nkhata Bay. But now he is finally of age and gets the first XI position following his exploits at the recent Cosafa Cup. The 2017 Afcon qualifiers could even be his turning point.

Gerald Phiri Jnr

Another Cosafa Cup revelation. The Caps United playmaker is now an asset in the Flames squad after being overlooked for so many years. If I was coach Young Chimodzi, I could throw Papa in the starting 11. The Flames need players that keep the ball alive.

Harry Nyirenda

After missing the Flames friendly matches and the Cosafa Cup due to club commitments, he returns to the squad to take up his role of the Flames’ sweeper. With him as the last man in the line of defence, we are at peace.

Chimango Kayira

Malawi’s holding midfielder. But sometimes he forgets his role and vanishes from his position creating trouble for the midfield. He needs to set his priorities straight and concentrate on his role.

John Banda

He is often haunted by injuries that affect his consistency. But once on the pitch, you can’t fault CJ.

Atusaye Nyondo

The Flames most consistent striker in recent games. The University of Pretoria striker is expected to partner Esau Kanyenda upfront

Esau Kanyenda

The Black Mamba still has some venom. He is the most experienced player in the squad and all the players look up to him for guidance both on and off the pitch.

Frank Banda

While many may not see the vital role he plays in the Flames squad, Frank Banda, is actually a super-substitute. His capability to read the game while on the bench, changes the team’s rhythm once introduced.

John Lanjesi

A centre-back, but coach Young Chimodzi prefers deploying him as right-back instead of his normal position where he is comfortable. A big gamble as he finds it tough to overlap and fall back comfortably.

Kamwendo

Flames captain. His leadership is always flawless. But he needs to adjust so that he is synchronised with the young and energetic players who like to keep the ball alive and move forward. No more negative football.

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