Marinica for clinical Flames

WARMING UP—Flames players

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Technical Director Marian Mario Marinica has said he wants ruthless and hard-working Malawi National Football Team players ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals to be staged next month in Cameroon.

The Romanian was speaking after the first training session at Ittihad Training Complex in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where the team is preparing for the continental showpiece.

Marinica said, despite some hiccups, he was impressed with the character of players during training.


“I want to have a team that is hardworking, able to create more chances and convert them into goals. At the same time, I want a team which is also tight at the back. However, I don’t want to raise too much hopes for Malawians,” Marinica said.

Additionally, Marinica said he was confident that the players would implement his philosophy during the tournament.

“Always there is no time but I believe the players will understand what I want,” the 56-year-old Romanian said.


Marinica will take charge of the Flames at the Afcon finals after Fam made the decision that the team had technical deficiencies under Head Coach Meck Mwase.

This was after the senior side’s poor showing in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in which the Flames registered a win and five losses in six matches.

The TD named a 30-member provisional squad for the tournament.

Flames captain Limbikani Mzava, striker Richard Mbulu and Sudan-based Gerald Phiri Junior have already joined camp.

Orlando Pirates striker Gabadinho Mhango is expected to join camp today whereas Simba SC forward Peter Banda will miss the Saudi Arabia camp due to club commitments.

Some players, namely Sankhani Mkandawire, Gomezgani Chirwa, Chimwemwe Idana and Charles Petro, are still in isolation after they tested positive for Covid.

However, Fam Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said some players, including Tawonga Chimodzi, are expected to join the team in Saudi Arabia today.

Former Flames defender Moses Chavula, who was one of the key players during the 2010 Afcon finals, said Marinica should find a perfect balance for the team.

“The Flames should be organised in all departments. The best way to defend is to attack,” Chavula said.

The Flames will play friendlies against Mali on December 30 and Comoros Islands on January 4 before proceeding to Cameroon for the tournament.

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