Flames Coach Meck Mwase believes that there will be more than pride at stake when his troops face Cameroon in a dead-rubber World Cup qualifier at Orlando Stadium in South Africa this afternoon.
The Flames, who are already out of the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers, need a positive result to gain atonement for their poor campaign.
In four matches in the qualifiers, the Flames have won once beating Mozambique 1-0 but lost three matches; twice to Ivory Coast and once to Cameroon.
Malawi started the campaign with a 2-0 loss to the Indomitable Lions but recovered to beat Mozambique 1-0, courtesy of Richard Mbulu’s goal.
However, the World Cup dream quickly ended following back-to-back losses to Ivory Coast (3-0 and 2-1) last month.
Despite being a ceremonial match for Malawi, Mwase said it would be easy to motivate the players as they are looking for revenge against Cameroon.
“We expect another tough match but there is pride at stake. We need to win these games so that we prepare well for Afcon finals,” Mwase said.
This will be Malawi’s last home match in the campaign before they face Mozambique in Benin on Tuesday.
In another Group D match, leaders Ivory Coast will host Mozambique.
Mwase is also expected to give some fringe players a run in this match.
“We will try our best to give them a chance to prove their worth so that we have a big squad before Afcon finals,” Mwase added.
Mwase has included in-form Moyale Barracks striker Lloyd Njaliwa, Nyasa Big Bullets forward Hassan Kajoke and Mighty Wanderers left back Francis Mlimbika.
Striker Khuda Muyaba and Richard Mbulu are likely to lead attack in the absence of Gabadinho Mhango, who was dropped.
Captain Limbikani Mzava said the players were determined to beat Cameroon.
“The three losses in the qualifiers are water under bridge now. We want to take advantage of playing at home so that we beat them,” Mzava, who celebrated his 28th birthday yesterday, said.
The two sides have met eight times but Cameroon have dominated the fixture after winning four matches whereas Malawi have won a single match. The last time Malawi beat Cameroon was a 3-1 win during All Africa Games in 1987. Three matches have ended in stalemate.
However, there is renewed hope in Flames camp as Cameroon will miss a bulk of key players namely Neyou, Moukoudi, Kunde and Eric Choupo Moting due to injuries and Covid travel restrictions. Charles Castelleto is in mourning.
Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar is available for the match and promised to win.
“We have very talented youngsters. We are going to need creativity to win these games,” he was quoted as saying on Sports glitz.