Malawi National Football Team’s preparations for today’s Group B Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals match against Zimbabwe received a big boost on Wednesday night after all 28 players were declared Coronavirus free.
Confederation of African Football requires that all teams test their players and officials 48 hours before a match.
The Flames missed the services of six players and three officials who tested positive ahead of Monday’s match against Guinea on Monday.
The nine were tested together with the rest of the squad and only Technical Panel Head Mario Marinico failed and is isolating.
The development means Malawi will have a full squad to take on Zimbabwe in Bafoussam.
Both sides go into the match looking for a win, having lost their opening games 1-0 to Guinea and Senegal.
Coach Meck Mwase will continue to take charge in Marinica’s absence and will be spoilt for choice as all his charges are raring to go.
“It feels great to have a full squad for our match. All the players need is to give out 100 percent against Zimbabwe. We should not expect an easy match. Those who will be selected for the match must know that they are in a battle to collect maximum points.
“We must win if we are to keep our qualification chances alive. We need to take this game as it comes and then see what happens in our last match against Senegal. We will do our best to execute the head coach’s playing philosophy which the players are adapting to,” Mwase said.
Captain Limbikani Mzava has also challenged fellow players to show character against Zimbabwe.
“Malawians out there want results. We must forget what happened during the Guinea match. We must fight to win. Everyone to be involved in the match must give his all. This is a difficult match, yes, but we must win it by all means after starting with a loss. We are fully aware that Zimbabwe will be hard on us but we should also demonstrate that we want it more,” Mzava said.
However, the odds are stacked against Malawi, who lost 10 times to Zimbabwe between 2001 and 2021.
The Flames have beaten the Warriors only on three occasions with five matches ending in stalemates.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.