Flames to start their AFCON 2025 qualifiers at home against Burundi in September

* The two teams are pooled in Group L alongside Burkina Faso and AFCON 2021 champions, Senegal

* Flames next match is against Burkina Faso also September followed by Senegal in October back-to-back assignments

Maravi Express

Malawi Flames will start their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Morocco 2025 qualifiers with a home fixture against Burundi between September 2-10.

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Confederation of African Football (CAF) released the full fixtures for the qualifers to be played between September and November this year and the Flames — pooled in Group L alongside Senegal and Burkina Faso — will then travel to Burkina Faso on matchday 2 in same period of September 2-10.

They will then play AFCON 2021 champions, Senegal in back-to-back assignments, starting away and then at home between October 7-15 followed by a return match away against Burundi before winding up the campaign at home against Burkina Faso between November 11-19.

The two top teams in the group will qualify for the  AFCON finals to take place in Morocco next year, to be played be played from December 21, 2025 to January 18, 2026 — as opposed to the usual period of January-February.

It will be a roller coaster run from this year till November during the AFCON qualifiers as they will be intensely played alongside the FIFA World Cup 2026™, which after Matchday 4, remains with six more games to be played in 2025 (March, September, October and November).

The AFCON Morocco 2025, will be played through this year as well as alongside the FIFA World Cup 2026™ qualifiers but the finals will be held in 2026.

Coach Mabedi

On a report by Fam.mw, Flames coach Patrick Mabedi says strategic planning and preparation will be key to the team’s success in the AFCON 2025 qualifiers.

The former Flames captain, though acknowledging the difficulty of the group, remains optimistic about his team’s chances finishing in the top two and booking a ticket to the finals in Morocco next year.

“We are in a tough group,” he said. “Senegal and Burkina Faso are good teams that have been to AFCON more often. We need to work hard so that we can overcome them, but at the end of the day, it will be 11 versus 11 on the field.

“We need to plan and prepare to counter the experience and skills of our opponents whose players mostly play at Europe. It will be difficult but its not impossible,” he stressed.

For the Flames’ next six qualifying games of the Group H of the FIFA World Cup 2026™ are three at home — against Equatorial Guinea and fellow COSAFA member, Namibia  Liberia — with the other three away against São Tomé e Principe, Tunisia and Namibia.

First will be against Namibia followed by away to Tunisia both in March 2025 before meeting Namibia again away and Liberia at home — both in September.

Then in October, the Flames will host Equatorial Guinea before traveling to confront São Tomé e Principe, whom they beat 3-1 at Bingu National Stadium in this June’s Matchday 3 before losing 0-1 in Matchday 4 away to Equatoguineans.

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Having won 1-0 in their opening campaign away to Liberia, losing 0-1 at home against Tunisia, the Flames are 4th in Group H in the race for the FIFA World Cup 2026™ to be hosted jointly by the United States of America, Mexico and Canada.

The 23rd edition finals will have 48 participating countries instead of the conventional 32 giving an advantage for Africa to field more teams and the top team from each of the nine groups after Match Day 10 shall earn an automatic qualification.

The four best second-placed and top ranked teams from all nine groups will engage in a continental playoff, determining a single victor who will then proceed to a second and final playoff. 

This final stage will comprise six teams from various confederations, with the top two emerging as qualified participants, ultimately making up the 48 competing teams.—Reporting by Fam.mw; editing by Maravi Express

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