Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet will kick off his reign as Malawi boss against Zimbabwe in a quarterfinal fixture of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) Castle Senior Challenge Cup at Lusaka’s Nkoloma Stadium on Saturday.
Saintfiet believes the Flames have a great shot at beating defending Cosafa Cup champions Zimbabwe a less than five days after the Belgian began his two-month stint with Malawi.
He said Malawians have prepared adequately for the regional tournament and will give their quarter-final opponents Zimbabwe a tough time.
“I hate losing, so we are here to win. It will be a tough match but we want to reach the semi-finals at least,” Saintfiet said.
The Belgian said despite drilling the team for a short time, he is confident the Flames will go far in the competition.
He said the Malawi national team is strong but he does not underrate any opponent.
“I went to Malawi because I knew that the national team there is strong. I think we have good players. It will be difficult but we are here to try and reach the semifinals,” Saintfiet said.
But Zimbabwe’s assistant coach Lloyd Mutasa – who was in charge when the Warriors held Malawi to a 1-1 draw in an international friendly match in May -has predicted a tough encounter
“I think it will be a tough match against Malawi,” said Mutasa as quoted by NewsDay.
“From what I saw during the friendly match, there is not much difference between the two teams and the hungrier team on the day will win the match. It will be a tough tussle after we drew 1-1 in the friendly match because both of us will be looking to lift the trophy. But we have done enough preparations for this game and we have rectified the mistakes we noted from that friendly match.”
Malawi come into this year’s tournament in Zambia still seeking third first Cosafa Cup title after picking silver on two occasions in 2002 and 2003.
The Flames go into the match against Zimbabwe with their confidence low after they were defeated 1-0 by Mozambique in an international friendly match last weekend.
Goalkeepers: Simplex Nthala, Owen Chaima;
Defenders: James Sangala, Moses Chavula, Douglas Chirambo, John Lanjesi and Bongani Kaipa, Gorge Nyirenda;
Midfielders: Joseph Kamwendo, Micium Mhone, Chimango Kayira, Young Chimodzi Jnr, Frank Banda Dave Banda, Fischer Kondowe, Ndaziona Chatsalira;
Strikers: Jimmy Zakazaka, Simkonda, Boniface Kaulesi, Chiukepo Msowoya.