Visiting Malawi have arrived in Eswatini ahead of Total African Nations Championships (CHAN) South Zone first round first leg tie set for Mavuso Sports Centre on Saturday.
The two nations senior men national teams square off in Manzini in their 21st meeting – their first meeting in the CHAN date with the hosts soul searching for their first ever home win since the 5th of June 2016 famous 1-0 win over Guinea in the 2017 Total Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
On that Sunday afternoon, then prolific scorer Sabelo Ndzinisa grabbed a 48th minute that temporarily drowned the mighty West Africans into football mediocrity and ascended tiny” Eswatini to giant-killers status.
And ever since, Sihlangu lost four successive home ties to Angola (2018 Total CHAN qualifier) and to the trio of Tunisia, Egypt and Niger in the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and has changed coaches from Harries Bulunga to Hendrick Pieter de Jongh to Anthony Mdluli to the current, Kostadin Papic.
On the other hand, the Flames last tasted victory outside their borders in a friendly international played on the fourth of September 2017 � a 1-0 triumph over Togo and ever since lost three of their away 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers to Morocco, Cameroon and Comoros.
Since then the coaching lead has changed hands from Gerald Phiri (snr) to Ronny Van Geneugden and now Meck Mwase who will be returning to his second home, Eswatini where he almost stole away the MTN Premier League of Eswatini with giants Mbabane Highlanders.
In their 20 previous meetings, Malawi have won 11 with Eswatini bagging three wins with the two nations sharing six draws and both coaches will be searching for a winning cushion ahead of the second leg set for next month.
Panic said his lads were going for a win.
The team has a potential to qualify for such tournaments including CHAN, AFCON, even the World Cup and win even the COSAFA if we are to professionalize our game local and this is mindset we are trying to work. It is with this in mind that we will be going for a win on Saturday.
We have never gone past this stage in the CHAN qualifiers and it’s high time we advance to the next stage. If we attain the winning mindset it is possible to win over Malawi and meet Angola in the next round of the qualifiers,said Papic.
Mwase early in the week said he was happy to be in Eswatini.
I thank God that I’m coming back to Eswatini as interim coach for Malawi. I’m sure it will be tough but exciting too. Three to four years have passed and I am not sure how far the game have improved in Eswatini.
It’s every teams wish to play to win but compared to the previous Under 20 meeting it will be two different teams altogether. We have to respect our host they are playing at home. But we are also ready except for just those football related injuries which are not serious, said Mwase.
The last meeting between the two sides was on the 4th of September 2016 in Malawi when a Gerald Phiri first half strike gave the home side a 1-0 win over Eswatini with the last meeting on Eswatini soil ending in a 2-2 draw on the 6th of September 2015.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)