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Preview: Malawi vs. Zimbabwe

COSAFA rivals duel on Friday with Zimbabwe and Malawi attempting to get their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations campaigns back on track following opening match losses. Three points are essential in the match for both teams’ hopes of advancing, particularly for Malawi due to their final matchup being against competition favorites Senegal. Despite opening day defeats, both teams did well to be a threat to their more pedigreed opponents and will be optimistic of building momentum with a positive result.

Malawi’s squad was decimated by Covid-19 before they even got to kick a ball, but the Flames did remarkably well against Guinea and poor finishing denied them a result against the West African nation. The good news for Malawian supporters is that there is a full squad to choose from following negative tests for the 13 players who were out of contention for the Guinea matchup. Only technical director and co-manager Mario Marinica is away from the team, meaning previous manager and now co-coach Meke Mwase will be on the sidelines again. It will be interesting to see who the coaching staff elects to put up front with regular starters Gabadinho Mhango and Richard Mbulu back in full contention, as Yamikani Chester and Khuda Muyaba were threatening but lacked composure in the opposition penalty area before Mbulu came on and showed similar traits as a substitute.

Zimbabwe is also coming off a promising performance against Senegal that saw the Warriors very unfortunate not to earn a point. The reception in the country to the team’s efforts was positive and now confidence is furthered by the arrival of AFC Bournemouth left back Jordan Zemura to boost the quality in the squad. Captain and attacker Knowledge Musona is struggling with illness and was forced off towards the end of the Senegal match, but should be able to make an appearance in some capacity if he does not start. Talented striker Prince Dube got a surprise start but was subbed off at halftime for Tino Kadewere, who should get the start up top. The Warriors have reportedly received their bonuses on schedule so far at the competition, leading to reports that morale is as high as it can be.

Check out the articles below from SuperSport and CAF Online as well as reports from Malawian and Zimbabwean media to be fully prepared for the clash between Southern African nations.

Crucial three-pointer for Malawi and Zimbabwe (SuperSport)
Malawi v Zimbabwe – Battle of the South (CAF Online)
Zimbabwe, Malawi rekindle age-old rivalry (The Herald)
Zimbabwe need to swim, not sink against Malawi (The Herald)
Clean bill of health for Flames (Malawi24)
We need to improve in the next two games – Banda (Malawi24)

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