President Lazarus Chakwera has urged the Malawi national football team nicknamed the Flames, to stay focused and not be the whipping boys in the 2022 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be held in Cameroonian capital, Yaounde.
Chakwera, who is the former Malawi National Sports Council board chair, sounded the encouraging remarks Thursday afternoon when he hosted the victorious Flames team at the State Residence in Lilongwe.
The Malawi leader said: “Be resolute and stay focussed. You have everything you need to be be a force to reckon with. Do not go there with a we are small team attitude. You must believe in yourselves. When you believe, anything is possible.”
President Chakwera congratulated the Malawi national team for their boisterous win against the Cranes of Uganda at Kamuzu Stadium Monday this week to secure their place in the Afcon finals, which was marked by an expressive of exuberance and high spirits.
The Malawi leader encouraged the team to have self-confidence and never look themselves down as underdogs.
Chakwera, quoting Mark Twain, said: “It’s not the the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
The President urged the coach Meke Mwase and the players that they must to engage an extra gear and go to the Afcon finals with determination to be winners.
Said Chakwera: “We must go beyond just qualifying for the finals. We must aim to win the subsequent games so that we can bring the trophy home. Nothing is impossible.”
In his remarks, Flames captain, John Banda standing in for the South African-based Malawi national team skipper, Limbikani Mzava said: “Your Excellency Sir, our win against Uganda is a gift to you and we promise that we will give our very best in this competition and we sincere thank you for your government’s support.”
Banda appealed to the President to consider the players’ accommodation welfare by putting in place a scheme that would help Flames players to have houses.
“I would like to ask your Excellency’s government to consider the Flames players to be granted access to soft loans.
“I would also like to ask for your indulgence for more resources for the team. Also may you consider those players working in Malawi Police services or the Malawi Defence Force for promotion as well as all those working in the civil service as an incentive,” said Banda.
The Flames captain implored the President “for his government to improve on the national coaches remuneration packages.”
Meke Mwase’s coached side is routing to bring silverware from the Africa Cup of Nations as they have just qualified for the third time in their history, having previously competed in the finals in both 1984 and 2010.
The Flames last qualified for AFCON in 2010 when Chakwera was Board Chair of the Malawi Council of Sports.
Malawi opened their Group B campaign with a 1-0 victory over South Sudan but then suffered back-to-back defeats to the top two sides in the section, Uganda and Burkina Faso.
A draw at home to Burkina Faso followed in November 2020 before recording a 1-0 victory away to South Sudan on Wednesday courtesy of a second-half effort from their talisman Richard Mbulu.
Malawi occupied a third spot in the group, one point behind Uganda, meaning that they desperately needed to win last Monday’s game ensure their spot in the finals of the competition, which begins in January 2022.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :