By Duncan Mlanjira
Confederation of African Football (CAF) has sent Burundian referees to officiate the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier between Malawi 🇲🇼 and South Sudan 🇸🇸 at Kamuzu Stadium on Wednesday, November 13.
The FIFA centre referee is Pacifique Ndabihawenimana, 1st assistant is Herve Kakunze, 2nd assistant is Willy Habimana and the 4th official is Eric Manirakiza.
The Match Commissioner is Gaspard Kayijuka from Rwanda while the referees assessor is Jackson Pavaza from Namibia.
South Sudan, whose nickname is Bright Stars and are ranked 162 on FIFA rankings as opposed to the Flames’ 124, arrived in the country on Saturday Crossroads Hotel in Blantyre.
On Sunday, they had a training session at Mpira Stadium in Chiwembe as well as on Monday while they will have a feel of Kamuzu Stadium on Tuesday.
Coaches from both sides will hold a press briefing at Mpira Village.
Meanwhile, fans can still continue to buy advanced tickets which Football Association of Malawi (FAM) has distributed to a number of outlets.
FAM’s Commercial & Marketing Director, Limbani Cliff Matola says the tickets are available at the following outlets:
*Ndirande Chinseu Total Filling Station
*Ndirande Energem Filling Station
*Limbe Market Total Filling Station
*Haile Selassie Puma Filling Station
*FDH Bank at Umoyo in Blantyre
*FDH Bank Chichiri Shoprite
*FDH Bank Blantyre Branch
*FDH Bank Limbe Branch
Matola says the tickets are at:
*K1,500 Open Stands (advance) and K2,000 on Match Day
*K2,000 MBC Stand (advance) and K2,500 on Match Day
*K3,000 Covered Stand (advance) and K4,000 on Match Day
*K6,000 VIP Stand (advance) and K8,000 on Match Day
After the match against South Sudan 🇸🇸, the Flames will travel to Kampala to face Uganda 🇺🇬 on November 17.
The other member of Group B are Burkina Faso 🇧🇫, who face Uganda 🇺🇬 next week before clashing with South Sudan 🇸🇸.
A total of 24 teams will qualify to play in the final tournament, including Cameroon who qualified automatically as hosts but are expected to participate in the qualifiers regardless of its ranking in the group.
Their matches and results will count in determining the qualification of the other teams from their group.
South Sudan was officially admitted as a Confederation of African Football (CAF) member on 10 February 2012, at the 34th CAF ordinary General Assembly hosted in Libreville, Gabon and admitted as a FIFA member on 25 May 2012 at the second session of the 62nd FIFA Congress hosted in Budapest, Hungary.
South Sudan competed in its first full international match, a friendly match ended that 2–2 against Uganda in Juba on 10 July 2012 — a result that entered them on the FIFA rankings at the start of August in 199th place.
South Sudan took part in their first ever international football tournament when they took part in the 2012 CECAFA Cup in Uganda where they were grouped alongside Ethiopia, Kenya and the hosts Uganda.
They lost all their three matches 0-1 against Ethiopia, 0-2against Kenya and 0-4 against Uganda.
South Sudan entered their first major international tournament in 2014, taking part in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and in the preliminary round they were drawn to play against Eritrea, who withdrew — thus qualifying South Sudan for the first qualifying round.
There, they played Mozambique over two legs, losing 0-5–0 in Maputo and a goalless draw in the second leg which was held at the Khartoum Stadium in Sudan due to a civil war in their country.
South Sudan achieved their first official victory, a 1–0 home win against Equatorial Guinea on 5 September 2015, in the 2017 AFCON qualifier and a month later played their first ever FIFA World Cup match in a qualifier in which they drew 1-1 draw at home against Mauritania before lose the return lag 0-4.
During the 2019 AFCON qualifiers, they achieved their record win when they defeated Djibouti 6-0 in Juba.
Hhowever they lost all seven of their other matches to remain among the lowest ranked teams in Africa.
To join the Flames, Uganda and Burkina Faso in this Group B, South Sudan won an away game for the first time, beating The Seychelles 1-0 to secure a 3–1 aggregate victory after winning 2-0 in their home match.
This is their third consecutive edition to qualify for the group stage and are definitely not a side to be taken lightly.