Flames start 2018 World Cup campaign

Mtawali naming his squad last Friday

The Flames kick-start their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign on Wednesday against Tanzania’s Taifa Stars in a preliminary round first leg at National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
The return leg is slated for Sunday at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Flames coach Ernest Mtawali said described the mood in camp ahead of the first leg as electric.
“The approach will be normal, we have to change this mindset that we cannot get results away from home. We have to drum into the players that with commitment and enthusiasm, it is possible.
“So, we have not come here for a point, we will fight for all the three points that are on offer,” said Mtawali.
He said the plan is to get an early goal so as to settle the nerves.
“If we get an early goal and then take it calmly by sticking to possession, we can achieve our goal,” said Mtawali.
He further said while the absence of experienced midfielder Robert Ng’ambi is a setback, he has steady replacement.
The match, which will be beamed on SuperSport channel 207, will kick-off at 3pm local time.
Simplex Nthala is tipped to guard the goal-posts for the Flames with captain Limbikani Mzava, Miracle Gabeya, Yamikani Fodya and Stanely Sanudi forming the back four.
Workhorse Chimango Kayira, playmaker Gerald Phiri Jnr and Robin Ngalande will take up the central midfield role with John Banda and Micium Mhone featuring as wing-attacks while Chawanagwa Kawonga will take up the striking role.
Tanzania’s coach Charles Mkwasa was yesterday quoted by one of that country’s newspaper,  The Citizen, as saying he is happy to have all the players in camp.
“This is good and we can now concentrate on the preparations. We will take the match like any other we played before. All the players are fit to play and we have to seize our home advantage,” he said.
Taifa Stars will bank their hopes on their foreign-based trio— Mbwana Samatta, Thomas Ulimwengu (TP Mazembe, DR Congo) and Mrisho Ngassa (Free State Stars, South Africa).


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