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Afcon 2021: ‘I can say the boys are ready to compete’ – Malawi’s Marinica

4:18 PM SGT 5/1/22
Malawi Head of Technical Panel Marian Mario Marinica.
The Flames coach exudes confidence the players are ready to shine at the continental competition set for Cameroon from January 9

Malawi Head of Technical Panel Marian Mario Marinica has revealed the team’s readiness to compete at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The Flames, who have been pooled in Group B of the African competition alongside Guinea, Senegal, and Zimbabwe, have been on a 10-day Pre-Afcon training camp in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which concluded on Tuesday.

Ahead of their departure to Cameroon on Wednesday via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Marinica believes he has seen enough positives in his squad and they are ready for the competition.

“The training camp was quite good. There are a lot of positives that we gained here. The players worked hard. We had an opportunity to play a friendly match which showed us the progress we have made in changing our playing style,” Marinica said as quoted by Malawi FA official website.

“It could have been a little bit better if we didn’t have some hiccups. We had some players that tested positive to Covid-19 and did not travel while others arrived late. Others tested positive here and were restricted from taking part in training and the friendly match.

“We also had our friendly match against Mali cancelled and we ended up missing some hours of training. But all in we had a good camping, good facilities, good environment and good response from the boys, we are on the right track.

“As always time is never enough, we always want to have more time. I am happy with what I have seen and I can say the boys are ready for the tournament.”

Meanwhile, Malawi captain Limbikani Mzava has stated the boys are ready to die for the country in Cameroon.

“We worked hard during the qualifiers for this moment and it is time to raise our hands and die for mother Malawi,” Mzava told the same portal.

“It was a good camp. We have a new coach who has brought a new playing style. We have worked hard to master the new approach and managed to execute it perfectly during the friendly match against Comoros.

“It has been our dream to go to the Afcon. I was part of the Pre-tournament camp for 2010 but did not make the final squad. I have a chance now and as a leader, we will fight to make it count.”

While in Saudi Arabia, Malawi played one friendly against Comoros which they won 2-1 courtesy of goals from Gabadinho Mhango and Khuda Muyaba.

However, the team will leave for Cameroon minus three players - defender Mark Fodya, midfielder Charles Petro and striker Richard - who have been left behind after testing positive for Covid-19.

The Flames will face the Syli Nationale in their opening fixture on January 10 before facing the Warriors four days later and then wind up the group phase with a match against the Lions of Teranga on January 18.