Malawi Under-20 National Football Team, the young Flames, will be banking on history to repeat itself when they face Comoros Islands at the ongoing TotalErnegies Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Cosafa qualifiers at Mavuso Stadium in eSwatini this afternoon.
The young Flames started the tournament with an impressive 2-0 victory over South Africa on Saturday. But this afternoon, they face familiar opponents Comoros, who caused the first upset of the tournament with a 1-0 victory over Namibia.
The Patrick Mabedi boys will be seeking to underline their dominance over Comoros. Malawi and Comoros also met at the same stage during the 2020 edition in South Africa, in which the young Flames triumphed 1-0.
In 2019, Malawi thrashed Comoros 4-0 in the same competition. Surely, the boys will be targeting their second win of this year’s competition.
With a win in today’s match, the young Flames will have one foot into the semifinals before their final group stage match against Namibia on Wednesday. The young Flames top Group C with three points from one match, above Comoros on goal difference.
Sounding calm and composed, Mabedi said the players were in high spirits ahead of the match.
“We have rectified the weaknesses. The good thing is that we also analysed how Comoros played against Namibia and we have done our homework,’’ Mabedi said.
Mabedi will likely maintain the side that started in the first match. Goalkeeper Austin Chirambo, who had a grand game against South Africa, will likely keep his place whereas Chimwemwe Nkhoma, Chisomo Chiwanda, Happy Mphepo and Kelvin Banda might also start. Exciting midfielder Chikumbutso Salima, Lloyd Aaron and Frank Mahowa will likely keep their places whereas captain Chifundo Mphasi and Vincent Mkandawire will lead the frontline.
Group winners and overall best runners-up will advance to the semifinals. Finalists will automatically qualify for the 2023 Afcon finals to be staged in Egypt. Malawi last qualified in 1999 but lost all three group stage matches.