Malawi Beach Soccer National Football Team Coach Willy Kumilambe believes his troops will utilise home ground advantage as they host Tanzania in the first leg of the 2022 Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at Sunbird Livingstonia in Salima District this afternoon.
This is the first international beach soccer match to be played on home soil since the sport was introduced in Malawi in 2007.
Surely, history will be made this afternoon as local beach soccer fans will watch the game. This is the third meeting between Malawi and Tanzania.
However, the two teams shared fortunes in the previous two matches as Malawi won narrowly 5-4 against Tanzania in 2017 but lost 6-4 during the Copa Dar es Salaam in 2019.
Honestly, this could be an open match considering statistics from the previous matches. Malawi has been dormant for the past three years.
Ahead of the match, Kumilambe was optimistic of getting a positive result at home.
“We know Tanzania are a good team but we also have quality and we believe it will be a good match,” Kumilambe said.
Kumilambe has assembled a squad blended with experience and youngsters.
Isaac Kajamu, Sandram Saddie (both from Nkopola) and Ganizani Mphande are some of the players with experience.
On the part of Tanzania, they have been active every year. They have a strong squad having won silver during the 2021 Cosafa Beach Soccer Cup in Tanzania after a 3-1 loss to Mozambique in Durban, South Africa.
Malawi did not take part in 2021 Cosafa Cup but also won silver in their maiden appearance in 2016. Coach Boniface Pawasa is expected to feature a strong squad against Malawi to get a good result.
The two teams will meet again in the second leg in Dar es Salaam two weeks later.
Overall winner between Malawi and Tanzania, will book a place at this year’s Afcon finals to be staged in Mozambique.
Senegal are defending champions of the Afcon having won it on their home soil.