Flames warm up against giants

THE Flames of Malawi have lined up two big international friendly matches against Ghana and Nigeria as part of their final preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola next month.

THE Flames of Malawi have lined up two big international friendly matches against Ghana and Nigeria as part of their final preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola next month.

The match against Ghana will be played on January 3 in South Africa at a venue still to be confirmed but it is likely to take place in Mpumalanga. Ghana have chosen Mpumalanga to be their base camp for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

As for the game against Nigeria, Malawi will play them on January 5.

The venue for the Malawi-Nigeria match is also still to be confirmed.

Football Association of Malawi chief executive Charles Nyirenda said they were happy to have secured two high-profile matches to prepare for Angola.

Nyirenda said they were confident of doing well in Angola, their first appearance in the biennial continental tournament in 25 years.

One of Malawi's influential players, Joseph Kamwendo, said they were looking forward to doing well in Angola, despite being in the "group of death".

Under the guidance of Kinnah Phiri, the Flames have been drawn in Group A with the hosts, Angola, 2010 Fifa World Cup finalists Algeria and Mali.

"It's a tough one, but we are ready for all the teams that have qualified. You have to play against the best on the continent in order to be rated among the best," Kamwendo said.

Phiri, who has also coached Absa Premiership club Free State Stars, is also upbeat about their chances of making history by qualifying for their first-ever knockout stages in this tournament.

Besides Kamwendo, some of the popular names in Malawi's team include Swadwick Sanudi (Dynamos), Peter Mponda (Black Leopards), Robert Ng'ambi (Leopards), Tawonga Chimodzi (Santos) and Jimmy Zakazaka (Bay United).

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