OnHead Coach Mario Marinica says there is no need to be under pressure as Malawi Flames chost Egypt Tuesday in a crucual 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
Marinica faces a star studded Egypt side, with their coach Rui Vitoria eyeing to punch a ticket to Ivory Coast finals next year after missing the last edition held in Cameroon.
But Marinica says he is no need to be under pressure.
He explained: “Well, honestly, I don’t believe in pressure. Pressure is a state of mind you put yourself under.
“Yes, there are situations like these, but you have to see what actually it is. You have to be calm and composed. People that are under pressure start making mistakes.”
“We want to be composed and take one match at a time. We have to get as much as possible the most of our qualities.
“Our qualities are working hard and being determined to put the opponents under pressure.”
Malawi kicked off the campaign with a 2-1 victory over Ethiopia before losing 1-0 to Guinea in June 2022 then last Friday’s 2-0 loss to Egypt in the first leg.
Last Friday result put the Flames on a back foot as they perch on third position with three points just like bottom placed Ethiopia while Egypt and Guinea both have six points.
The Flames now badly need a victory in Tuesday’s return leg against the Pharaohs if they are to rekindle their chances of back-to-back qualification to Afcon finals.
But the Romanian tactician said a bad result in the match against Egypt is not the end of the world.
“As regards to the qualification, even for example if the game does not go our way, but I don’t think that will be the case because I am positive we are prepared to get points tomorrow.
” If it goes bad for us, there is still two more games and six points to play for. And with nine points we may still qualify depending on results from the other qualifiers.”
Marinica also addressed the issue of players’ unpaid allowances, saying the issue is sorted and that everyone is focused on the match.
“We are a family and sometimes families have issues and you have to get together and put the house in order and move on. That has been done.
“We are on the right track to focus on working as a team and determined to take points.”
On his part, Flames captain John CJ Banda said they are more than ready to collect maximum points.
“We know people are not happy with the bad results. We as players are even more concerned.
“We know this is a very crucial match in our qualification campaign.
“We will do our job and we will not disappoint the nation.
“We know we have been saying these words several times.
“But this time we are serious and determined to collect maximum points.”
On the issue of allowances, Banda said this was water under the bridge.
He said: “We are aware that the country experienced Cyclone Freddy recently and that government needs money for recovery from the effects of the disaster. So, our allowances is not a big deal right now.”
Later Egypt coach Vitoria also told the media that they had come finish what they started in Cairo.
He said: “It will be a completely different game. But our aim is to win the match.”
The Egyptians are returning to Bingu Stadium after they lost 2-0 to Ethiopia at the same venue in June 2022..