It’s now established, the Ghana Football Association has announced an afternoon kick-off for Saturday’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Malawi a. The match will start at 15:30GMT (3:30PM local time) at the Accra Sports Stadium.
The Previous trip to this West African country was in January 2010 in a warm-up game as both teams were preparing for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. The two teams settled for a one all draw.
If we are to be honest with ourselves, betting houses would put their stakes as follows; 1/5 Ghanato win, 5/4 a draw and 100/1 for Malawi to win. The betting House Ladbrokes knows that even the favourites in dog and horse races do not always win, and later on football, betting houses slipped up on Manchester United vs Everton, Swansea/ Liverpool and we are sure they are likely to regret on Malawi and Ghana game if they try to throw it to their customers.
When Malawi were in Ghana in January 2010, their line up included Peter Mponda, Esau Kanyenda, Russell Mwafulirwa, Elvis Kafoteka and one or two more names. This time around it’s a youthful squad which comprises mainly home based players. The advantage of these local players is that the nation is assured of their fitness as they enjoy ample game time in their respective clubs and we are talking of players like the hot cake-Gabadhino Mhango.
Ghana’s online publications are all singing the same chorus and that is; the Ghanaians need a resounding victory against their Malawi to make the second leg in Lilongwe in October a mere formality.
The Ghanaians mean serious business. They have recalled Assamoah Gyan who quit the national team. Gyan has not played since last February’s Nations Cup semi-final defeat to Zambia and followed up with a temporal international break which lasted for six months.
“It’s [Malawi game] one of the important games we have this year. I think people are expecting us to win and we will give Ghanaians what they want at the Accra Sports Stadium,” Gyan said. Another player oozing with confidence is Andre Ayew.
Andre has not really click into full gear since the start of the French League campaign since he recovered from a troublesome shoulder injury. The 22 year old Ayew says he is fully fit to play in Saturday’s 2013 Afcon qualifier against Malawi. The Marseille talisman says he is getting back to his best.
“I am much better. I am getting better bit by bit and hopefully I should be available for the game against Malawi, Ayew Said. “The squad should just continue to push me and that way we can all do our best to win the game on Saturday.”
The Flames, as Malawi is popularly known are in cloud nine. The Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has given them $3100. The Flames were in Liberia for a warm-up game which they lost 1-0.
Kinnah Phiri is a good coach so is his assistance Young Chimodzi. We are confident that they know what to do. However, we the Timau Crew have a few tips; offense is supposedly the best defence. If you play an offensive game, the defenders and the midfielders try to pass the ball to the strikers. Keep in mind that piling up strikers does not guarantee a goal as the opposition can easily catch you on the break and launch a counter attack. We want our players not to lose concentration in the last minutes as it in these minutes that we concede silly but painful goals.
Passing and counter attacks are the two ways to exploit holes in the opposition’s defence.
It is our desire that Joseph Kamwendo, Davie Banda and Robert Ng’ambi in midfield will play an active role in the offense as midfielders are the ones who have the highest possession and are able to dictate terms on the field. An offense consisting of five to six players is the optimum formation.
We do not know which formation Kinnah will use, are we going to Ghana to defend or attack? The answer remains with the technical panel but let us look at these two formations; 5-4-1 for a defensive mode i.e. five defenders, four midfielders and a striker, and then there is the, 3-4-3 which is a heavily offensive formation. Whichever formation Kinnah will use it should not only capitalise on Malawi’s strengths, but should also exploit Ghana’s weaknesses.
Our concern again, goes to our defence, they have conceded last minute goals in most crucial games and these are , against , Chad, Nigeria and just last Tuesday, Liberia. James Sangala, Harry Nyirenda, Moses Chavula and Limbikani Mzava need to be agile, strong and quick-thinkers, as a split-second decision makes a lot of difference. Remember, it’s all in the mind. A defender can be only as strong, as he believes himself to be.
Our final words
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Liberian president has given you money because she is a friend of ‘Amayi’, President Joyce Banda. Win this game and you will see what ‘Amayi’ will do to you.
Do not fear Ghana, and most importantly to have the belief that you can win, is sacrosanct. This is not just another game, its war. And wars are won in the mind, and need tactics and strategies. If you lose that is it. You will be out of 2013 Africa cup of nations. At least, this time around it is inSouth Africa and Malawians can go there to support you.
The competition switches to uneven-number years from 2013 to avoid every second tournament being staged in the same year as a World Cup.
Next year’s finals will mark the last time that the Nations Cup will be held in even-number years since Ethiopia staged the 1968 finals
We, the Timau Crew, Nyasa Times and all ‘WAGS’ wish the Malawi national football team, the Flames a great game—we are praying to the almighty God to give you that extra strength so that you can bring smiles to Malawians.