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Zimbabwe, Malawi Eye Victory in Bafoussam

Southern Africa rivals Zimbabwe and Malawi will battle for points in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Group B clash at Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium on Friday evening.

Kick-off is at 16h00 GMT.

The two nations suffered defeat in their respective tournament openers on Monday, going down to Senegal and Guinea respectively.

Zimbabwe were convincing against the Teranga Lions in better part of the match but lowered their guard at stoppage time when defender Kelvin Wilbert handled the ball in the area for a penalty that was converted by Sadio Mane.

The Warriors now have a new found belief that they can reach the knockout stages of Africa’s premier cup competition as they showed a resilient and organized display against top-ranked African nation.

Zimbabwe coach Norman Mapeza remains confident of the Warriors chances at this year’s tournament in build-up to what is a crucial clash for both countries.

“I am proud of my boys. We worked so hard. Our minds are now on the game against Malawi where I think we need to give our all so that we can get maximum points because I think if we can manage to get four points we will get to the round of 16.

“Tournament football needs goals and we have to work very hard to score as we look to our next match against Malawi.”

Malawi, who are back at an Africa Cup of Nations tournament for the first time in 12 years, lost 1-0 to a strong Guinea side in the Cameroonian city on Monday.

Their opponents scored their lone goal courtesy of Issiaga Sylia with the Flames missing numerous chances to claim something from the game and were left to rue their profligacy.

The Flames launched 80 attacks, 20 of them good enough to translate into a goal.They had nine shots on goal, one off target, two blocked and six on target, of which four, were saved by Guinea goalkeeper.

Malawi comes into the Zimbabwe match without 11 of their squad members following an outbreak of Covid-19 in the team’s camp.

The Flames coach Mario Marian Marinica, who watched the match on television in his hotel room while in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, says his charges will be fight for a win in order to increase their chances to make to knockout stages.

“I think it would be unrealistic to say we can make it to the knockout stage as Group B winners or runners up. It’s something to have a wish and to have a dream,” said the Romanian coach in an earlier interview.

“We have to accept that Senegal and Guinea are very good teams with very good squad. If you look at their players they are in top teams like Liverpool who are Champions League winners.”

The two nations have clashed on 57 previous occasions, with Zimbabwe registering 20 wins compared to 19 for Malawi. Their last meeting took place in Cosafa 2021 with the result a 2-2 draw.


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