Flames gears up for the Sao Tome clash

Flames mentor Patrick Mabedi is happy with his charges state of preparedness ahead of the crucial World Cup qualifier against Sao Tome on Thursday this week.

Mabedi was making an assessment of his charges-at the team ’s camp in Lilongwe- as the clash against Sao Tome scheduled for Bingu National Stadium draws closer.

The Flames coach was particularly impressed with the fitness levels of his players in camp attributing to the current local league progress.

“I am glad that we have everyone in good shape, without injuries. Only one player had a dental problem but that is not a big challenge. We had our first session this morning and everyone is looking sharp. We just need to focus more on tactical areas.

“So far the local league is at nine games into the new season and the players look better and better as they play more league matches. Even those that are based elsewhere are also showing positive character and they are looking good. I would say this time around I can sense a big improvement in terms of fitness levels as compared to the time the we played in the Four Nations Tournament. The guys were a little bit rusty because they were coming from off season,” said Mabedi.

During the inaugural Four Nations Tournament the Flames stumbled when they ended bottom of the four-team group.

As the Flames are gearing up for the Thursday showdown, coach Mabedi seems to have made some good homework against the island nation with his focus being on how to deal with any threats the Flames opponent might possess.

“On Sao Tome I know they have a number of good players. I saw them in a friendly recently. I would say they are a team that if not taken with caution they can cause trouble. However, I know that they are a team that concedes in most games otherwise we are well aware of both their weaknesses and strengths.”

In coach Mabedi’s view, his team will have to use a phased-preparatory approach for the double header that includes Equatorial Guinea. The West Africans were recently docked points by FIFA for using an ineligible player.

He said: “Our approach is to take one game at a time. Currently our focus is on the Sao Tome match. After we are done with this fixture then we will shift our focus to the next opponent.

“As a coach I am taking the docking of points for the Equatorial Guinea positively. These things happen. I cannot say it is an advantage to us because we are yet to play them. If it is an advantage then that is to other nations not us. Otherwise it is not on my mind, we are just focusing on our preparations.’

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