By Mphatso Malidadi:
Malawi under-23 national football team is beaming with confidence ahead of today’s away first-leg 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualifier against their Botswana counterparts at Lobatse Sports Complex in Gaborone.
The Flames reserve side arrived in Botswana on Thursday where they were welcomed by Football Association of Malawi Executive Member Daudi Mtanthiko who left for Gaborone much earlier.
Malawi under-23 Coach, Meke Mwase, said it is a tricky match as both teams want to make it to Tokyo.
“The game will be tricky as we have not been active recently and obviously, both teams would like to reach the next stage,” Mwase said.
Malawi under-23 last competed in the Olympic Games qualifiers in 2011 when they defeated Lesotho 3–0 at home before drawing 1-1 in the away match.
On April 16 of the same year, Malawi lost 4-1 away to South Africa before winning 2-1 at home which was not enough to see the Malawians through.
But Mwase said he has good players who can easily foil any tactics deployed by the hosts.
“We have a pool of talented players who are willing to fight to the end. I believe they are good enough to get results from this game for us reach the next stage of the qualifiers. We have to win away so as to avoid playing the return match under pressure,” he said.
Malawi have seasoned campaigners such as Mike Mkwate, Ernest Tambe, Mark Fodya, Haji Wali, Gregory Nachipo, Ben Manyozo, Isaac Kaliyati, Francis Mkonda and Peter Banda.
The return leg will take place at Kamuzu Stadium on Tuesday with the winners facing Zambia in the next round.
Botswana Coach Letang Kgengwenyane has promised to use home ground advantage to enhance their chances of reaching the next stage.
Kgengwenyane said his players are hungry and dying to get a result at home.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues