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Under-20 hope to end 5-game winless run

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Malawi under-20 national football team Coach, Meke Mwase, hopes to banish demons that usually haunt the Junior Flames when playing at home.

Today, the Junior Flames face a daunting task when they square up against Angola in the first-leg of an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.

Mwase said the players were in a relaxed but determined mood ahead of the match. The Junior Flames are winless in five games in all competitions.

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“I hope supporters won’t pile pressure on the team. Otherwise, we have had good preparations and we hope for the best. We feel that we can do the right job here [Malawi] and finish it off in Angola,” he said.

Malawi are smarting from a 0-1 defeat to Zambia in a friendly played in Lilongwe last week.

In recent times, Junior Flames have been goal-shy when playing at home.

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It was a similar case when Malawi drew 0-0 against eSwatini (Swaziland) in a first-leg encounter of the preliminary round at the same venue.

However, the Junior Flames scored a decisive goal during the away return match when the two sides drew one-all. Malawi advanced on the away goal rule to date Angola.

Now both sides are eyeing a place at the Niger 2019 finals.

The last time the teams met was in 2011 during the Cosafa Youth Championship in Botswana when the Junior Flames squandered a two-goal lead to lose 2-4.

But Malawi recorded a historical win over Angola during the 2008 edition of the Zone VI Games (now Region

Five Games) when they lifted gold medals following their 4-2 win despite playing the whole tournament with 11 players.

In this afternoon’s clash, playmaker Peter Banda and Chinsinsi Maonga will likely be the centre of attraction for Malawi.

Angola Coach, Samy Matias, has reportedly named a strong squad and wants to stun Malawi at home.

Meanwhile, Football Association of Malawi Technical Director, John Kaputa, who led Malawi under-20 to the historic Zone VI gold medal, said he will share with the Junior Flames insights on what to expect from Angola.

The game comes when the Junior Flames are coming to terms with the death in Portugal of under-20 star, the late Abel Mwakilama, whose remains were buried last Saturday in Karonga.

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