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RVG banks on Kamuzu Stadium

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By Mphatso Malidadi:

FLASHBACK—The Flames in action against the Harambee Stars at Kamuzu Stadium

Malawi national football team Coach, Ronny van Geneugden (RVG), hopes that the Flames’ return to Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre would provide the magic wand needed to steer the team to 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.

Malawi host Cameroon on October 16 at the local soccer Mecca, four days after dating the Indomitable Lions in Yaoundé in crucial group B qualifying matches.

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Speaking at the stadium on Monday, RVG said the away and home games were important to the Flames’ chances of getting a slot at next year’s continental showpiece.

“I hope that we would try our best to have a strong result in Cameroon. I also hear interesting stories about games that are played at Kamuzu Stadium.

“The atmosphere and tension that you play in with the 12th man [supporters] is always intimidating so much that the opponent becomes afraid to visit Malawi when they play at this venue,” he said.

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The Flames last played at Kamuzu Stadium in 2016 when they defeated eSwatini, formerly Swaziland, 1-0 in a similar campaign under caretaker coach Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan.

Even though the Belgian tactician is under fire following some unconvincing results, he insisted that his charges are in contention for a place at 2019 Afcon finals.

In the Afcon qualifiers, the Flames have defeated bottom-placed Comoros Islands 1-0 and lost 3-0 to Morocco to occupy third place with three points, at par with the Atlas Lions.

Cameroon, who beat Morocco then drew with Comoros 1-1, lead the standings with four points.

Group leaders will qualify for the Afcon final and, in the case of Malawi’s pool, the second-best side will sail through in the event that the hosts, Cameroon, finish top.

Overall, RVG has been in charge of the Flames in 17 games, winning twice, drawing nine times and losing six matches.

Meanwhile, Football Association of Malawi President, Walter Nyamilandu, took time off to motivate Flames players on his return from Egypt where he was elected Fifa Council member.

“What matters now is that the national team’s performance has to improve. The fact that I have won a seat at Fifa Council should be a source of inspiration to our players that they can also do well. I have no doubt that the players have gained experience,” he said.

Nyamilandu also echoed RVG’s remarks, calling on the Flames to use home-ground advantage.

During the Fifa Council elections, Nyamilandu defeated South Africa Football Association boss Danny Jordaan 35-18 in a second round of voting.

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