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Flames wary of opponents

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Flames Team Manager, James Sangala, has said they consider all the three teams in their Cosafa Cup Group B as tough opponents.

Malawi have been paired with Angola, Mauritius and Botswana in the tournament that kicked off Sunday in Polokwane, South Africa.

Speaking on Friday at Chileka Airport in Blantyre minutes before the Flames left for the regional tournament, Sangala said many teams on the continent are improving their performance; hence, the need to be cautious when meeting them.

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“We played Angola last year and the match ended in a draw. This year, there are possibilities that we can do better, having studied their style of play.

“Botswana and Mauritius are teams that have for a long time been deemed not good enough but if you look at their recent results, you will realise that they are improving so fast. This clearly shows that football is changing,” Sangala said.

He said Head Coach Ronny Van Geneugden (RVG) has faith in his charges’ ability to deliver an improved performance in South Africa this year after failing to win a game, let alone score in last year’s tournament.

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“There was stiff competition for places during training. Whoever has made it in this squad is deserving of their place. It is also pleasing that morale is high in camp and the players are relating well. This gives us hope that we will get good results,” Sangala added.

RVG has picked Richard Chipuwa of Be Forward Wanderers and Silver Strikers’ Brighton Munthali as his goalkeepers for the regional showpiece.

Munthali was part of last year’s tournament together with Nyasa Big Bullets’ Enerst Kakhobwe, who has been dropped.

Four foreign-based players Richard Mbulu (Portugal), Dalitso Sailesi (Zambia), John Banda based in Mozambique and Robin Ngalande (South Africa) have also earned their places in the team.

TNM Super League leaders Nyasa Big Bullets have contributed Patrick Phiri, Chiukepo Msowoya and John Lanjesi to the 20-man squad while their rivals Be Forward Wanderers have eight in Stanley Sanudi, Rafik Namwera, Alfred Manyozo Junior, Peter Cholopi, Dennis Chembezi, Chipuwa, Felix Zulu and Precious Sambani.

Malawi will kickstart their campaign with a match against Mauritius tomorrow before facing Botswana on Wednesday.

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