South Africa-based Flames captain Limbikani Mzava and striker Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango have described their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualification group as tricky.
The duo was reacting to Tuesday’s draw that pitted them against the continental showpiece’s record winners Pharaohs of Egypt, Guinea’s Syli Nationale and Ethiopia’s Walias.
The AmaZulu defender and the Orlando Pirates forward said if the Flames can maintain the momentum they set at the delayed 2021 Afcon finals played in Cameroon in January this years, they have a good chance of qualifying.
Said Mzava: “Egypt are the group’s favourites while Guinea could also stand in our way. Even Ethiopia are no push-overs.
“So, I would say it is a tricky group, but if we maintain the spirit that we showed in Cameroon, then we have a chance. Crucial will be to ensure that we win all home matches.
“It all boils down to determination and good preparations, thus having a good homework on our opponents coupled with the right approach.”
On his part, Mhango said time has come for the Flames to have self-belief.
He said: “It’s not an easy or tough group, but somehow tricky.”
Reacting to the draw on Tuesday, Flames coach Mario Marinica described it as a tough group.
He said: “Egypt is a fantastic team with fantastic players. Guinea also have a much better team compared to us. Even Ethiopia are strong, in the last match we played them, they beat us 4-0.
“All the three teams have an upper hand against Malawi. So, it’s not going to be easy.”
Qualifiers are is set to begin with two matches between May 30 and June 14. Two more fixtures will follow in September, with the final two rounds in March next year.
Confederation of African Football will announce the dates and schedule of fixtures in due course.
The 2023 Afcon is set to be held in Ivory Coast in June and July next year.