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Mario’s fate awaits Afcon qualifiers

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Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has disclosed that Flames coach Mario Marian Marinica will be assessed at the end of the crucial 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.

The Romanian signed a one-year deal as Flames coach last year, replacing Meck Mwase.

However, his deal is set to expire before the end of the Afcon qualifiers which will be concluded in September this year.

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Fam president Walter Nyamilandu said his fate will be known after the qualifiers.

“His contract will be reviewed close to the time since we have crucial assignments,’’ Nyamilandu said in a written response on Friday.

The Flames are expected to face Egypt’s Pharaohs on March 20 away in Cairo before hosting them at Bingu National Stadium seven days later.

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They will also meet Ethiopia away in June before the home fixture against Guinea in September. In an interview yesterday, Marinica said he was not under pressure.

“I am not concerned at all. Of course, the two matches against Egypt away and home may have huge impact on my fate,” Marinica said.

Marinica was given a target to win the 2022 Cosafa Cup and also guide the Flames to Chan finals.

However, the Flames exited the Cosafa Cup in the group stage with one victory, draw and one loss.

They were eliminated in the second round of Chan qualifiers on away goal rule after a 1-1 stalemate with Mozambique.

The Flames are expected to travel to Saudi Arabia for a two-week camp in preparation for the upcoming matches.

Sports analyst Parley Chinyama said it will be good to assess him after the qualifiers.

“If we qualify for Afcon finals, then he will secure his job. But if we fail, I do not see him beyond the qualifiers,’’ Chinyama said.

After two rounds of matches, Group B is wide open as the four teams have three points each.

The Flames are second in Group B with three points following a 2-1 victory over Ethiopia and a 1-0 loss to Guinea.

Ethiopia top the group on goal difference whereas Guinea and Egypt are third and fourth respectively.

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