FAM has admitted that it will be a tall order to secure an international friendly match for the Flames against a West African side due to prohibitive demands that are usually put forward.
Flames coach Kinnah Phiri has asked Football Association of Malawi (FAM) to arrange a strength-testing match against a West African team on August 15 [which will be a Fifa calendar date] as part of the preparations for Septemberâ€™s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final round first leg against Ghanaâ€™s Black Stars.
FAM chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda on Wednesday said they have since approached a number of teams such as Cameroonâ€™s Indomitable Lions and Mali.
â€œSince our opponents are from West Africa, it is only proper that our main target for a friendly match should be a team from that part of continent and we have already written a number of associations including Cameroon and Mali.
â€œBut it is not easy to secure a friendly match against teams such as Cameroon because they often come up with prohibitive demands such as appearance fees and return air expenses. On top of that, they also prefer playing friendly games in Europe where most of their players are based.
â€œI remember there was a time Cameroon showed interest to play us in a friendly match, but the demands they came up with were prohibitive,â€ said Nyirenda.
Asked why FAM cannot strike a deal with Mali who will be preparing for Botswana, Nyirenda said: â€œActually, Mali is the other team that we have approached and we are hoping that since they will be facing a team from this side of the region [Botswana] in the final qualification round, we might convince them.
â€œWe are looking at teams that are still in the competition because they are the ones that can offer us a good test.â€
The FAM CEO said their target is to secure a friendly match by next week.
â€œThe Fifa calendar date is on August 15 and we do not have much time,â€ he said.
Asked what will be the alternative should the FAM fail to secure a friendly against a West African team, FAM CEO said: â€œIf the worse comes to the worst then we might look for a team from elsewhere that is still in the competition.â€
The FAM CEO also said in the event that teams such as Cameroon and Mali accept but come up with prohibitive demands, they will seek governmentâ€™s assistance.
â€œGovernment through the Honourable Minister [Enoch Chakufwa Chihana] has assured they will do everything possible to ensure that the Flames should have thorough preparations.
â€œWe are also continuing with our drive to secure sponsorship from the corporate world. So, weâ€™ll not take any chances,â€ said Nyirenda.
Flames coach Kinnah Phiri said it is important that the Flames should face a team from West Africa in preparation for Ghana.
â€œIt is crucial that we play a team from that part of the continent and away because the pattern of play is more or less the same and it would help us tune-up for Ghana,â€ said Kinnah.
Facing black stars
The Flames mentor also said he would love to have two strength-testing matches before taking on the Black Stars.
Ghanaâ€™s FA president Kwesi Nyantakyi recently said they will prepare for their clash with Flames as if they were playing Brazil.
â€œWe are going to play them as if we were playing Brazil, England, Zambia or Egypt or any of Africaâ€™s top teams,â€ Nyantakyi told BBC Sport.
â€œThe preparations we will put in place will in no way underrate Malawi.â€
â€œOn paper, Ghana stands streets ahead of Malawi – we have the track record. Weâ€™ve been to the Nations Cup so many times. We have won it four times. We have been to two successive World Cups, Malawi has none of this.
â€œBut we must also lace our optimism with caution that there can be surprises at any time. Who expected CAR to beat seven-time champions Egypt?
â€œWe know Malawi can qualify, so complacency will not be part of our vocabulary.â€
Ghana will host Malawi on the weekend of September 7-9 most likely in Accra before flying to Blantyre for the return leg in October.