Flames captain John Banda says the team will treat Tuesday’s must win 2023 AFCON qualifier against Ethiopia at Zimpeto Stadium in Maputo as a Cup final.
The Flames are third in Group D with three points , six behind second placed Guinea and nine behind leaders Egypt who have already qualified for the AFCON. Malawi and fourth placed Ethiopia are tied on three points but the Flames have an edge on head-to-head.
Malawi must win the two remaining matches against Ethiopia and Guinea to stand a chance of a booking ticket to Ivory Coast next year for what will be their first back to back AFCON appearance.
Speaking after the team’s last training session on Monday, Banda said it should not be business as usual on Tuesday as the Flames will be eliminated in they fail to win.
“The team that is here is ready to do the job. They are a lot of young boys who are promising good things. We should not repeat the things that we did wrong in the past that put us in this position.
“We know what is at stake here. Only a win will be good for us to brighten our chances of qualifying. We want to go back to the AFCON. So this is an important match to us but we are not under pressure. Our duty is to play football so we are ready and don’t have to panic. We know some of the players are new but as senior players we have to help them cope,” said Banda.
Coach Patrick Mabedi said: “We have prepared very well for the match having stayed here for nine days . We are focused for this match which is very important for our campaign.
“We are looking forward to this game. We need to put all our focus on this match and collect maximum points on Tuesday .Ethiopia are a good team. We beat them in the first leg buy they have also done well and have good players and we need to be very careful in our approach.”