Flames coach Meck Mwase says despite facing a tall order to qualify for the Cosafa Cup semi-finals, he is optimistic they can turn around their fortunes.
The Flames, who anchor Group B with a point from two matches, face group leaders Namibia this afternoon in a must win encounter at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Eastern Cape, South Africa.
The coach said they have not yet given up hope on the prospects of making the last four.
He said: “It will indeed be a tall-order to progress to the semi-finals considering that we now remain with tougher opponents.
“However, this is football and anything is possible. We have to stay focused and fight to the end.”
But it will take something special for the Flames gaffer and his charges to turn fantasy into reality.
Mwase and his backroom staff need to work on the midfield which appears to be their weakest link due to its failure to build meaningful attacks and needless loss of ball possession.
Brave Warriors coach Bobby Samaria was quoted by The Namibian as having said that they are looking for nothing short of a win from this afternoon’s encounter.
“If we win our third successive match, then we will be guaranteed of a top-slot finish and that is what we are targeting,” he said.
Malawi’s last match will be against West African guest side Senegal’s Teranga Lions tomorrow.
Senegal are third on three points with two games remaining whereas Zimbabwe are fourth on two points with a match to go.
The development spells doom for the Flames as a loss against Namibia, who lead the pack on six points from two-straight wins, will be an automatic elimination from this 20th edition of the Southern African regional showpiece as they need maximum points in their remaining two games to progress.
The winners and runners-up from the two groups will sail through to the semi-finals.
In their last meeting at the Cosafa Cup in 2019, the Flames beat Namibia 2-1 but that can hardly be a statistical advantage for the Flames going into this afternoon’s clash because that was their only triumph in four games against the Namibians at the event, having lost 4-0 in 1997 and 1-0 in 2008. They drew one-all in 2000.
On paper, the Namibians are the odds-favourites as they have not lost in their last three games while Malawi have suffered two defeats and drawn once.
In all competitions, the Brave Warriors have better statistical record against Malawi having won seven games, lost four and drawn three.
The Flamesgave up a two-goal lead agains Zimbabwe’s Warriors to draw 2-2 in their opening match on Friday before going down 2-0 to Mozambique’s Mambas on Sunday.