World Cup Appearances: None
AFCON Titles: None
Nicknamed The Flames,
the Malawi national team is hardly what someone could call an African
heavyweight. The team formerly known as the Nyasaland flames have never
managed to qualify for the World
Cup finals and only made it once to the African Cup of Nations, in 1984.
record in the competition consists of two losses and a draw. So if they
manage to win one game at the next African Cup of Nations in Angola,
their competition would be considered a success or at least a step-up
from previous performances.
Road To Qualification
Malawi were put in the Group 12 alongside
Egypt, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Djibouti. Thanks to surprise
wins against Egypt and the Congo DR, the Flames managed to finish
second with twelve points, behind Egypt and three points ahead of the
Democratic Republic of Congo, getting to the second phase of the joint
qualifiers as one of the eight second placed teams.
During the second phase, they were put in a very difficult group
alongside Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea and Burkina-Faso. With a relatively bad
record of only one win and one draw, it was only thanks to Guinea's
series of catastrophic performances that they managed to get a ticket to
If they started out talking big game, they ended up extremely happy
of their third place, a historic event for the sport in their country.
team manager Kinnah Phiri is an ex-Malawian football player, a member
of the national team himself in the seventies and early eighties. Even
if he never managed to bring the Flames to the African Cup of Nations as
a player, he is closely associated with the "glory days" of the
National team when Malawi won the East and Central Africa Challenge Cup
Before taking the reigns of the Flames, Kinnah Phiri was a coach
with the Bakili Bullets in Malawi and the Free State Stars in South
Africa. He later went on to coach the Under-23 side of his country and
ended up replacing Stephen Constantine when the British technician
failed to qualify the side to the African Cup of Nations and
With a heavy baggage and a lot of weight in the country's game,
Kinnah Phiri seems to be the man for the job if Malawi wants to get a
bigger profile on the continental stage. With a rejuvenated team and a
different outlook on his country, Phiri has been able to get great
spirit from his players so far, even if they were often pit against far
Chiukepo Msowoya is, alongside Russel
Mwafulirwa and Esau Kanyenda the most high profile player the team has
at the moment. The ESCOM United player, who played for only a few months
with the Flames has had incredibly good results with them.
substitute, he managed to score six goals during the qualifying phases
and is now looked at as a potential transfer for many European clubs and
African heavyweights. A very young and talented player, the 21-year-old
is a constant threat and has been much more efficient than his Flames
team-mates. A bright future lays ahead for the kid.
The last time
they played in this tournament
was back in 1984 and they will be looking to do much better than just
getting a draw like they did then. If they were to get to the second
round, the Malawians would be more than happy with that result.
Malawi will be in the same group as the host nation, Angola. But
also will have to face Mali and its superstars as well as World Cup side Algeria. If there is absolutely no chance for them to make it to
the second round, Malawi could get a few inspiring performances out of
this competition. Finishing third in such a hard group would be good for
them. But then again, a victory would change their legacy already.
Did You Know?
One of the best players that could play
for Malawi, Tamika Mkandawire may never play for the country. The Leyton
Orient player holds dual citizenship thanks to a Malawian father and
English mother but the country doesn't recognise dual citizenship and is
preventing one of their best products ever (the man was elected
Division One Player of the Year) to play with his father's country.