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Flames win away from Afcon paid ranks

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George Kaudza Masina

Malawi National Football Team is just one win away from the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) paid ranks.

The Flames qualified for the knockout phase of the continental showpiece for the first time ever with four points and will face Morocco in the last 16 on Tuesday.

Confederation of African Football (Caf) increased the prize money for participating teams before the tournament kicked off early this month.

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Should the Flames progress to the quarterfinals, they will pocket $1 million (about K825 million).

The semifinalists will get $2 million whereas the runners-up will pocket $2.5 million.

The competition’s champions will pocket $5 million (about K4.1 billion), an 11 percent hike in prize money.

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Apart from the prize money, all the 24 participating teams reportedly pocketed $260,000 (about 214 million) for preliminary preparations.

Additionally, every participating team gets $475,000 (about K391.8 million) as participation fee.

Sports analyst George Kaudza Masina said the Flames were capable of beating Morocco.

“Our focus should be on the match against Morocco. This is a team we can beat. Our players should not relax. They should work hard in training. I remain confident that an upset against Morocco is possible,” Kaudza Masina said.

The Flames reached the knockout stages as one of the best third-placed teams after finishing third in Group B following a 2-1 victory over Zimbabwe and a barren stalemate against Senegal.

Malawi lost their opening match 1-0 to Guinea with six players missing out after testing positive for Covid.

During the match against Zimbabwe, striker Gabadinho Mhango became the first Malawian player to net a brace at the Afcon finals.

Mhango and goalkeeper Charles Thom have won one Man-of-the-Match award each after sterling performances against Zimbabwe and Senegal, respectively.

The Flames failed to get out of the group stages during similar appearances in 1984 and 2010.

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