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Malawi face Uganda today

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Malawi national football team, the Flames, face a mammoth task as they take on Uganda’s Cranes in a strength-testing match at Namboole Stadium in Uganda this afternoon.

The hosts are oozing with confidence, having beaten Sao Tome 3-1 in a friendly at the same venue on Saturday.

But the Flames have been inactive, having played their last match in November when they drew 1-1 against Lesotho at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.

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Uganda named new Coach Sebastien Desabre three months ago and the Frenchman got a timely boost when he registered his first victory last Saturday.

But facing the Flames could be one of his biggest challenges since he was appointed last December. Malawi are on position 123 whereas Uganda are 78th in the world.

Having spied on Uganda on Saturday, Flames Head Coach, Ronny van Geneudgen, was upbeat on prospects of beating the Cranes at their own backyard.

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“I watched them [play] against Sao Tome and they enjoy playing long balls. We have seen their strengths and weaknesses, which is good for us ahead of Tuesday’s [today] game,” the Belgian said.

The Flames Team Manager, James Sangala, said morale was high in camp ahead of the match.

“The mood is great. The guys are in high spirits. They are all happy to be here and the effort they are putting in training is top level. Our prayer is that they should translate that [to victory] on the field of play,” Sangala said.

Uganda and Malawi are using the match to fine-tune for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Tanzania and Morocco in September, respectively.

In today’s match, the Flames are likely to rely on Portugal-based forward Richard Mbulu, Captain Limbikani Mzava, goalkeeper Charles Swini, midfielder Frank Banda and defender Stanley Sanudi.

But striker Gabadinho Mhango is out due to injury whereas Gerald Phiri Junior and Robert Ng’ambi excused themselves from the match as their South Africa club, Platinum Stars, is battling relegation in the Absa Premiership.

Midfield workhorse Chikoti Chirwa is also out due to work commitments. Malawi rarely wins in Uganda. The two teams last meet in a friendly, which Malawi won 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium in 2015.

Goalkeeper Dennis Onyango is among the Cranes’ key players.

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