Malawi National Football team, the Flames Head coach Mario Marinica is confident that the Flames can end Lesotho’s six year unbeaten run against Malawi when the two sides clash in 2022 Hollywoodbets COSAFA Cup Group B match at King Zwelithini in Durban, South Africa on Wednesday.
The two sides last met in COSAFA Cup in 2016 and Likuena won 1-0. The other two encounter ended in 1-1 draws in 2017 and 2018 international friendly matches.
But Mario said the Flames can end the Likuena record. The Romanian tactician said: “Yes, Malawi has never beaten Lesotho since 2015. But as they say records are there to be broken. We hope we will have a good game and come out with positive results.”
In the last edition the Flames did not make it past the group stage after two draws and one loss.
Mario acknowledged that soccer fans are anxious for success at the regional tournament.
However, the tactician said there is no need to panic and that he is not under pressure.
“I don’t believe there is such thing as pressure. Pressure is something you put your self under. Yes last Cosafa tournament Malawi didn’t do well, But we hope that with our game plan we will go a step further this time,” he said.
The Flames best performance in recent years was in 2015 when they won the Plate competition after they defeated Zambia.
But Malawi failed to build from the Plate success and ended up being knocked out in first round for three consecutive years in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Malawi bounced back in 2019 and managed to reach the quarterfinals.
The Flames’ effort to reach the semi-finals were thwarted once again by Zambia through penalty shoot-out.
Relegated to Plate section, Malawi made it to the final but lost to hosts South Africa.
Lesotho were also knocked out in group stage last edition.
However, they have an impressive at COSAFA Cup record as they have been in the quarter-finals in 2016, semi-finals in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
They also finished third in 2018 after beating Madagascar in the third-place play-off.
It Wednesday match, the Flames are spoiled of choice after Mario named captain John CJ Banda, Frank Gabadinho Mhango, Khuda Myaba, Chimwemwe Idana, Stain Davie, Stanley Sanudi, Micium Mhone, Yamikani Chester, Peter Banda and Chikoti Chirwa in his squad.
His only setback in the opening match is the absnce of defender Gomezgani Chirwa who was refused entry into South Africa after losing his passport at OR Tambo International Airport.
Likuena coach Veselin Jelusic, has also named a strong squad which held Ivory Coast in TotalEnergies 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.