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Flames tune up against Mali

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Malawi national football team coach Ernest Mtawali has an opportunity to assess his players before two crucial back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Guinea in March, after Football Association of Malawi (Fam) hinted that it is on the verge of securing a friendly match against Mali.

The Flames are third in Group L of the African qualifiers with a point from two matches, therefore they can’t afford to drop more points when they play Guinea away on March 23 and then host the ‘National Elephant’ at Kamuzu Stadium three days later.

Fam Chief Executive Officer, Suzgo Nyirenda, said on Monday that the association had been in talks with Burkina Faso and Mali Football Associations over a friendly match, but Mali looks a more realistic option.

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“The problem with Burkina Faso is that they are currently searching for a new coach. It is highly unlikely that they can get ready for us soon. Right now I can say that we will play Mali unless otherwise,” he said.

Nyirenda said since the Guinea match is on a Wednesday, the friendly match would be played on the weekend of March 19-20.

“The team will arrive in Guinea on Monday and will rest for two days before the match. We hope Mali will give us a good test. The good thing is that the coach will have all the first team players available,” he said.

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Mtawali recently said he was disappointed with the inactivity of most of the foreign-based players ahead of the Guinea ties.

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