Flames off to Cosafa: Sankhani, Chiukepo picked

Malawi Flames

The Malawi National Football team has left the country Saturday morning to Durban, South Africa for the Hollywoodbets 2022 Cosafa Cup.

The team's head coach, Mario Marinica selected 23 players for the tournament including veterans-Blue Eagles defender Sankhani Mkandawire, and Mighty Wanderers' Chiukepo Msowoya.

The two were some forgotten old guards for the Flames, but Marinica surprised many by recalling them probably due to their improved performances in their respective clubs. 

Msowoya also made it in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers squad, but Mkandawire, both former Nyasa Big Bullets rejects, was called in during the recent camp.

Marinica: We have not had smooth preparations

Marinica hopes for the best in this year's Group B alongside Mauritius, Lesotho and eSwatini.

“We have not had smooth preparations as we never had a full camp because of the Super League games and this has obviously affected our coordination in terms of imparting the fast and very fast football in the boys. However, we accepted the situation knowing that the tournament is not on Fifa window so we have worked with the players according to their availability and so far so good, we are all set for Cosafa.

“We have had chances to assess how our opponents play and we will approach each match as it is so that we get results. We might have different targets with the rest of the teams but we want to use the Cosafa Cup to build a stronger squad that attack more, create goal scoring opportunities as well as denying scoring chances for our opponents,” he said.

Brief history

Malawi have been runners-up in two Cosafa Cup competitions, reaching 
the final for the first time in 2002 and the making the decider again the following year. 

Joseph Kamwendo features for the Flames in 2013
Joseph Kamwendo features for the Flames in 2013

Although they were beaten in both legs of the finals by South Africa and Zimbabwe respectively, the Flames have shown 
they are a side to be reckoned with. 

Malawi did beat past winners Angola and Zambia on their way to the final in 2002 and the next year disposed of Zambia again on penalties in the semifinals.

Malawi have a strong record in regional competition, having won the East and Central African Senior Challenge Cup three times – in 1978, 1979 and 1988. 
Now the land-linked country is part of Cosafa and has been eager participants in the Cosafa Cup, playing in all previous editions. 

Malawi lost on penalties to Zimbabwe in the quarterfinals of the Cosafa Cup in 2013 and were then beaten 3-2 by Angola in the Plate semifinals. 

They were again beaten in the quarterfinals in 2015, this time by Mozambique, but would go on to lift the Plate competition as they defeated Zambia in the decider. 

They did not make it out of the first round in 2016 in Namibia, though they claimed two wins in the group stage, and also exited in the first round in 2017 and 2018. 

They finished top of their pool in 2019 but were unlucky losers via a penalty shoot-out against eventual winners Zambia in the quarterfinals.

They made it all the way to the Plate 
Final but lost again on penalties to hosts South Africa. 

Malawi did not make it out of the pool stages in 2021 as they drew two and lost two. 

Malawi's Cosafa Cup record at a glance 

1997 – Group stage (fifth) 
1998 – First round 
1999 – Second round 
2000 – Quarterfinals 
2001 – Semifinals 
2002 – Runners-up 
2003 – Runners-up 
2004 – Quarterfinals 
2005 – First round 
2006 – First round 
2007 – First round 
2008 – First round 
2009 – Quarterfinals 
2013 – Quarterfinals 
2015 – Quarterfinals (Plate winners) 
2016 – First round 
2017 – First round 
2018 – First round 
2019 – Quarterfinals 
2021 – First round 



Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Ernest Kakhobwe, Clever Mkungula

Defenders: Stanley Sanudi, Paul Ndhlovu, Blessings Mpokera, Gomezgani Chirwa, Precious Sambani, Kelvin Kadzinje, Dan Chimbalanga, Sankhani Mkandawire

Midfielders: John Banda, Chimwemwe Idana, Peter Banda, Yamikani Chester, Micium Mhone, Chikoti Chirwa, Lloyd Njaliwa, Patrick Maungulu,

Strikers: Ganadinho Mhango, Khuda Muyaba, Stenie Davie, Chikukepo Msowoya, Schumaker Kuwali