* Any result other than a win or draw, will put the Flames in an awkward position
* As they will end up in a tie with not only with Comoros, but with Zambia if the Chipolopolos beat Seychelles
Ahead of the crucial decider this afternoon when the Flames take on Comoros in a match that will decide the team’s fate at the Confederation of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) in Durban South Africa, captain at the tournament, Stanley Sanudi says they will not to allow a repeat mistakes of the past.
Malawi just need a draw to finish as the Group B winners and qualify for the semi-finals ahead of defending champions who face Seychelles in their last match.
But as is mostly the case of so near, yet so far in as far as the Flames chances are, Mighty Wanderers right back said the players are aware of what is at stake — that any result other than a win or draw, will put the Flames in an awkward position as they will end up in a tie with not only with Comoros, but with Zambia if the Chipolopolos beat Seychelles.
In that event, the group winners will then have to be decided through goal difference but Sanudi said they are aiming for a win and not even a draw.
“This is a very important match for us,” he is quoted as saying by Fam.mw. “We cannot afford any slip up. We need to beat Comoros because our target is to collect maximum nine points and finish as group winners so that we face the best losers in the semi-finals.”
In the past, Malawi Flames have been known to stumble when all they needed was just a draw — however, Sanudi said those days are in the past: “This is a different time and different players. Forget about those days when Malawi would give up the lead towards the end of the match. That is in the past.
“This is a new generation of players that will not allow that to happen. We take strength in what the FAM president preached to us that let there be light.”
Sanudi said Malawians should take courage in the team’s performance in the two group matches when they kicked off the campaign with a clean sheet against defending champions Zambia, beating the neighbours 1-0.
Malawi then followed that up with another 2-0 victory over Seychelles to top Group B.
“You can see from those two matches that this is a different team to the Flames people used to know,” said the captain. Every player is working hard.”
Coach Patrick Mabedi has assembled a squad that has majority of players on their first COSAFA Cup outing.
Fam.mw reports that Comoros’ coach Younes Zerdouk has also brought local players to the tournament, a development that makes the two sides evenly matched.
However, Sanudi said the up-and-coming players have gelled with the experienced: “As senior players, we are offering guidance to these up and coming players and everything is fine.
“You can see how these young players are performing. The Flames is now open to any player as long he is good. Everyone is here on merit. No-one is here because of a name. That’s why the team is doing well.”
On his part coach Mabedi said he expects a tough opponent: “That’s why we need to work even harder than in those first two matches.”