The Malawi side is unbeaten for a year and coach Ronny Van Geneugden (RVG) says he will be proud if he maintains the record here at the 2018 COSAFA Cup in Polokwane, South Africa.
Ironically, RVG’s baptism of fire was at the 2017 COSAFA Cup when Malawi lost 2-0 to guests Tanzania, just three months after RVG was hired as Flames mentor.
Since then, the Flames have not lost under RVG but that record is under threat as they prepare to face Mauritius, Angola and Botswana in Group B.
But RVG is confident of getting out of the group stages unscathed and qualify for the quarter-finals.
“I think it is important that we maintain the unbeaten record. We haven’t lost for a year and that is what I would like to maintain. More importantly, we need to win matches. We have been drawing too much in the previous matches,” he said.
The Flames arrived in Polokwane on Friday evening and yesterday are accommodated at Col John Hotel.
The Flames had their first training session on Saturday morning at Noordelikes. Their next training session is at Seshego on Sunday afternoon.
They will have a feel of the first match venue, Old Peter Mokaba where they face Mauritius on Monday.
Their second fixture is against Botswana on Thursday before the last group match against Angola at the same venue.
Meanwhile, the morale in camp is high. Stand in captain John Lanjesi said the players are aware of the task ahead of them.
“We know that we have been having a bad run at COSAFA Cup in the past years by failing to go past Group stages. But this time we would like to at least reach the quarter-finals,” he said.
Malawi have never won the COSAFA, the closest they got to the title was a finishing as finalists in 2003 and 2004.
Meanwhile, Nyasa Big Bullets full-back John Lanjesi will lead Malawi at the tournament.
RVG has settled for Lanjesi as interim skipper following the absence of regular captain Limbikani Mzava and his deputy Robert Ng’ambi.
The two excused themselves from the regional tournament due to various reasons.
Ng’ambi’s club Platinum Stars is involved in Premier Soccer League play-offs.
Golden Arrows captain Mvaza, on the other hand, said he would like to give up-and-coming players a chance to showcase their skills at the tournament.
Lanjesi will be deputised by Ferroviaro de Nampula midfielder John Banda and former Baroka FC midfielder Robin Ngalande, according to Flames Team Manager James Sangala.
He said the technical panel settled for the three senior players due to their leadership qualities.
By Joy Ndovi