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Flames struggle to secure friendlies

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Football Association of Malawi (Fam) is struggling to secure friendlies for the Malawi National Football Team ahead of World Cup qualifiers scheduled for early next month.

Malawi are in Group D of the qualifiers, where they will be facing Mozambique, Cameroon and Ivory Coast.

The Flames will kickoff the competition with an away match against Cameroon on June 5 before taking on Mozambique in a home fixture six days later.

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Malawi will go into the qualifiers in high spirits after qualifying for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon about two months ago.

Fam General Secretary Alfred Gunda said they were working round the clock to secure a team that the Flames could face before playing against Cameroon.

“Playing a friendly before taking on Cameroon will help the coach to fine-tune his team. We are also working on issues of getting the timing right for the game and we can achieve this only when we are sure of the dates of the friendly. It’s a tight call for us because teams playing in World Cup qualifiers have back-to-back fixtures just like us.

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“So we should be able to get one friendly once we align the dates. We remain confident of securing friendlies because our counterparts across the continent also want their teams to test their strength before going for the qualifiers,” Gunda said.

However, sports analyst Kelvin Moyo said chances were high that Malawi would go into the qualifiers without playing a friendly.

“As things are right now, we should forget about securing a friendly. In an ideal situation, we should have played against top African teams such as Senegal, Morocco or Tunisia which would give us a good test. But time is against us. We should have done this much earlier.

“The best we can manage for now is securing a match against low-ranking teams which, of course, will not give us a good test. Some of these teams are not worth playing against. We should be asking ourselves why we should be busy facing small teams that did not even make it to this round of qualifiers. So I will not be surprised if we fail to secure a friendly before playing our first match,” Moyo said.

After playing the two matches next month, the Flames return to the pitch in September and October to continue fighting for a top slot in the group against Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Cameroon.

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