Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says it has set no target for the Flames at the Cosafa Cup tournament which rolls into life this afternoon in Durban, South Africa.
This is a departure from previous editions when FAM set reaching the last four as the minimum target.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu yesterday said: “Without putting the team under undue pressure, we expect the Flames to come out stronger ready for the  World Cup preliminary round qualifiers in August.
“It is time for the young team to show what it is made up of and start delivering results.”
On his part, Flames caretaker coach Meke Mwase says the target is to progress to the knockout stages “and possibly reach semi-finals or finals”.
He has included five foreign-based players for the tournament—South Africa-based duo Frank ‘Gabadinho’ Mhango and Gerald Phiri Jnr and John ‘CJ’ Banda, Richard Mbulu and Chawanangwa Kawonga—who are based in Mozambique.
For the past three editions, the Flames failed to get past the group stages of the regional showpiece which features teams from the southern African bloc.
And in the past two editions, the Flames did not win a single match and scored only one goal.
Malawi are in Group B alongside Mozambique’s Mambas, Namibia’s Brave Warriors and the Pirates of Seychelles
They kick-start their campaign tomorrow against Seychelles at King Zwelithini Stadium.
Their next fixture will be against Namibia on Tuesday before wrapping up against Mozambique on Thursday.
The winner of the group will face Zambia’s Chipolopolo in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, Namibia who are Egypt-bound for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), have named a B team for their Cosafa participation to keep their star players at home for Egypt preparations.
Group A has three teams—Comoros Islands, e-Swatini and Mauritius—with the winner advancing to the quarter-final against champions Zimbabwe’s Warriors.
South Africa are sending an Under-23 side while Uganda, who are a guest team, are also under cooked for the event.
They both enter the tournament at the quarter-final stage next weekend.
Only defending champions Zimbabwe are expected to take a full strength squad to both the Cosafa Cup and Nations Cup.