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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Morocco is the biggest game of our lives – Malawi’s Banda

12:35 GMT+3 22/01/2022
John Banda of Malawi and Zimbabwe captain Knowledge Musona.
The 28-year-old Flames vice-captain says they don’t fear the Atlas Lions whom they will come up against in the Round of 16

Malawi midfielder John Banda has confessed they will face the biggest game of their lives when they come up against Morocco in their Round of 16 fixture of the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday.

The Flames reached the knockout stage for the first time in three attempts after they finished third in Group B with four points, same as second-placed Guinea who qualified as among the best losers.

They kicked off their campaign in the 33rd edition in Cameroon with a 1-0 defeat against the Syli Nationale, but they recovered to beat Malawi 2-1 before ending their group phase with a 0-0 draw against Senegal.

Meanwhile, Morocco topped Group C with seven points after opening their campaign with a 1-0 win against Ghana, and followed it up with another 2-0 win, against Comoros before they settled for a 2-2 draw against Gabon.

The Flames will now come up against the Atlas Lions at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium and according to vice-captain Banda, they will respect the North African side but don’t fear them.

“All is well in camp, we travelled well from Bafoussam and have settled well in the new environment. To most of us, Yaounde is not new. We were here in 2018, for 2019 Afcon qualifiers and just four months ago for the World Cup qualifiers,” Banda said as quoted by Malawi FA website.

“So we are very familiar with the venues and everything. The Morocco game is the biggest game of our lives and we are looking forward to it.

“We respect Morocco but don’t fear them. We played them twice in the Afcon three years ago and I played in both matches. They are a beatable side with a proper game plan.”

The Flames have already settled in Yaounde after relocating from Bana where they played their group stage matches and they held their first training session in Yaounde on Friday at the Military Stadium.

On Saturday the team will train twice at the same venue.