Though they have automatically qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as hosts, Cameroon — who play Malawi this Friday — intend to make each and every game of Group B qualifiers as important and they aim to end up as group leaders.
“When we go on the field, we give everything and the goal is to be first in the group because that’s what is going to give us mental strength, confidence, make everybody understand that it’s a new day,” coach Clarence Seedorf is quoted as saying by mysoccer24.com.
“We consider every match important. There’re no friendly matches. Players have to show themselves before the coach and staff because we need to make very difficult decisions before AFCON finals. We are happy how our team is working. Everybody is motivated.
Though they are hosts for the 2019 AFCON, the Indomitable Lions are still very serious with their games in order to stay strong ahead of the finals and as defending champions.
Cameroon were still included in the qualifiers in Group B and all matches of the host team will count leading to three possible scenarios: the group winners qualify for the finals while the runners-up also qualify if they are among the three best runners-up.
If Cameroon as hosts are the winners of the group, the runners-up will automatically qualify to the finals. No other team will be eligible to qualify from this group and if the host team are the runners-up, only the winners of the group will qualify to the finals.
Finally, if the host team are either in 3rd or 4th place, the winners of the group qualify to the finals and the runners-up will be eligible to qualify as one of the best runner-up.
“The adversary should be shaking when they come play in Cameroon and they should also be roaring when we go and play abroad; that’s the type of focus we’re working on because we have enough talents,” Seerdoff is quoted as saying.
Furthermore, Seedorf said after analysing the last game against Comoros which ended 1-1, he promises a massive improvement in today’s game.
“We were not completely satisfied with our last performance. I saw a lot of positive things and you also know we didn’t have a great preparation, We had players two days before the match. These are no excuses but this is reality. We will see definitely an improvement tomorrow. One thing is for sure is the commitment. That’s what I asked of the team.
This is a must win game for the Flames who are third in Group B with three points from two games. Cameroon lead the group with four points, Morocco are second also with three points but have better goal aggregate.
Comoros Islands are 4th with one point they got from their 1-1 draw with Cameroon. Malawi, who lost 0-3 their second match of the group against Morocco last month, got their three points off Comoros at home.
Malawi coach RVG said this is a big moment in history of Malawi football and he realises that everyone is waiting for a big result against the Indomitable Lions.
“We have been together as a team since last year, We are playing good football and we create some chances but the results have not been good. If you have to send a good message of a good performance you must give a big result. We need to bring the excitement back home by having a good result.
“We have to stay focused, the players are already in the game. I have a good feeling and not just me but also the players, they are excited and motivated. The self belief is there,” he said.
He acknowledged that Cameroon have tall players and strong defensively as well as offensively. They have individual talented players and his strategy is to play compact football to not give them free spaces.
“That’s where they can be very dangerous, they always keep enough players behind the ball when they attack. They are not a team that looks at getting more goals but they score and defend. We have to be aggressive every time we recover the ball, ” he said.
Meanwhile, the Flames held a prayer session on Wednesday evening seeking divine inspiration ahead of the match in which vice team manager Aubrey Nankhuni led the session and preached on the story of David and Goliath which represents the Malawi and Cameroon scenario.
Nankhuni said after all the hard work in training the players must now believe in themselves and have faith in God’s miracles.
“First of all we must accept the challenge in front of us and then have faith that we can do the impossible and that is when God will come in. It should start with us. Then we talk about love. This is a group of 30 people but we are one. Let us be united and love each other. Where there is love, unity and faith God will always be there.
“Just like David no one is giving us a chance against Cameroon. But the Bible tells us that with self belief and God’s guidance everything is possible. Let’s work hard and let’s believe. We will do wonders on Friday,” said Nankhuni.