Flames have been paired against Eswatini in the first round of the CAF Total African Nations (CHAN) Ethiopia 2020 qualifiers following a draw held at the CAF Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt on Wednesday.
The first leg will be played away in Swaziland between 19th and 21st April with the return match on10th -12th May. Angola stand in Flames way in the second round in July while the final huddle will be against the winner between Zambia and Seychelles/ Botswana in September.
Flames assistant coach Peter Mponda said the team is ready for the challenge as Flames join Forty-seven teams battling for 15 places to join host Ethiopia for the final tournament of the sixth edition of the tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues.
“ First we must thank FAM for ensuring that we joined the competition. These competitions are very important for local players development.
“ We have a big crop of local based players in our current setup and it is important to expose them to as many competitive matches as possible. The matches will be played at the right time soon after our AFCON qualifiers and right before the COSAFA .
“ I would say it is a good draw and we are ready for any opponent who will come our way. We have not done well in this competition since our debut in 2009 and the last time we fared badly after losing to Madagascar. This time we would like to qualify for the final tournament,” said Mponda.
This is the fourth time Malawi will be playing in the Chan competition. They were eliminated in the first round in the 2009 qualifiers after losing to Mozambique on away goal rule following a 2 all draw on aggregate.
In the 2011 qualifiers, Flames beat Mozambique 3-1 in the first round before losing by the same margin to a Harve Renald’s coached Angola in the second round. Flames did not take part in the 2014 and 2016 competitions but returned for the 2018 qualifiers where they lost 2-0 to Madagascar.
Flames last played Eswatini during the 2017 AFCON Qualifiers drawing 2 all away before winning 1-0 at home