MALAWI’S FLAMES TOUR CHINA FOR EAGLES
As the June date with Nigeria's Super Eagles gets nearer, the Flames of Malawi will be embarking on a tour of China in April as a part of their preparations for their clash with the Nigerian team.
The Malawians will be sponsored on the trip by the Chinese government and the Flames are expected to play against the Chinese national team.
'The trip is very important for us. We are taking the World Cup very seriously because we have ambitions to qualify for the global event for the first time ever,” Football Association of Malawi (FAM) President, Walter Nyamirandu Manda, said.
Manda had earlier said that the Super Eagles needed to be wary of the Flames as they were preparing hard to upstage the Nigerian team.
“Nigerians are the favourites in this group, but we're a team that cannot be underrated and taken for granted,” he said.
“There's a football revolution in Malawi, we're in a very good position now to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.”
The coach of the national team, Kinnah Phiri, said he would be using the tour to test new tactics and players.
'We should look at the rebuilding process, which means we are now relying mostly on local players, most of whom have no experience. They can only gain experience through these games,' he said.
The Flames are billed to play the Chinese on April 25.
In the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, they will play Kenya in Nairobi on June 1 and play Nigeria on June 8 in Blantyre.
The Super Eagles are the overwhelming favourites to win Group F, which includes Seychelles or Kenya and Djibouti or Namibia.
Despite all these, Manda believes that Malawi can get to the 2014 World Cup on the back of very good preparations.
'We're also very ambitious and have set our sights on trying to go to the World Cup for the first time in the history of Malawi's football.
'The first thing we need to have is the belief and we have a lot of it. We've played some tough teams in the past and should be able to face Nigeria and take them head on,' Manda added.