Malawi’s Flames ready to meet raised expectations

Football Association of Malawi President Walter Nyamilandu says the team is ready to meet the raised expectations on the side following their stunning performance at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon earlier this year.

The Flames reached the second round of the continental showpiece for the first time ever and took Morocco close in the knockout stages, showing a massive improvement in performance.

Nyamilandu admits the hard part is now to replicate that, but believes the side are on a new upward trajectory as they host Ethiopia in Sunday’s opener for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

“We needed to showcase how good Malawi is. All those years we were misfiring, but it is great that the Flames brought some good news for Malawi,” Nyamilandu told The COSAFA Show.

“The performance [in Cameroon] was exceptional, beyond the expectations of a lot of people, and we take pride in what we achieved. It was something historical. We are still enjoying the moment and I hope it will last a long time.

“Our plan is to start from where we left off. We were on a high and we want to capitalise on that momentum as a springboard. The boys have a lot of confidence that they can excel. We are taking matches very seriously because we want to go to the finals in Ivory Coast.

“There is an expectation from Malawians that we will qualify. We need to make a big statement.”

Also on this episode, we speak to Botswana Football Association President Maclean Letshwiti about The Mares’ maiden appearance at the 2022 CAF Women’s Cup of Nations finals in Morocco next month, and the joint bid with Namibia to host the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Finally, we hear from Eswatini Football Association President Peter Simalane about developments in that country.