Malawi, Zimbabwe gun for first win at AFCON

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Malawi and Zimbabwe, both jolted into action by pangs of defeats, face off this evening at Bafoussam Omnisport Stadium in Cameroon at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals.

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Both Southern Africa opponents are smarting from opening game defeats for Group B hence they are  gunning for a first win at the ongoing football panorama.

Zimbabwe lost 1-0 to Senegal on January 10 whereas Malawi lost by a similar margin to Guinea on the same day.

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Malawi will look up to Orlando Pirates striker Gabadinho Mhango to solve scoring problems that started in the qualifying race last year when the Flames hardly scored more than a goal in a game.

Mhango, who too is on a dry spell having scored just once with the DStv Premiership team Pirates, might start upfront to partner hard running Khuda Muyaba.

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Stand-in coach Meck Mwase will also have at his disposal right-back Stanley Sanudi, who alongside Mhango was ruled out of the opening game against Guinea after testing positive for Covid-19.

Defenders Charles Petros and Peter Cholopi are also available alongside midfielders Robin Ngalande and Chikoti Chirwa whereas coach Mario Marinica remains in isolation.

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Malawi have never gone past the group stages at AFCON and are making their second appearance since 2010 and overall third whereas Zimbabwe are making their third consecutive AFCON appearance.

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Games between the two teams are usually tight as their playing

styles are a bit similar although the Warriors are more direct than the more fancy opponents.

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The last meeting between the two teams ended goalless in Blantyre in a friendly.

Ahead of the match, Zimbabwe coach Norman Mapeza said he hoped his Knowledge Musona-led side would bounce back to winning ways.

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Apart from Musona and France-based striker Tinotenda Kadewere, Zimbabwe also needs a creative midfield and more discipline in defence after defender Kelvin Madzongwe’s late handball gifted Mane the sole winner for Senegal in the previous game.

Probable Line-Ups:

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Malawi: Ernest Kakhobwe, Gomezgani Chirwa, Limbikani Mzava, Chembezi Denis, John Banda, Peter Banda, Fransisco Madinga, Gabadinho Mhango, Micium Mhone, Khuda Muyaba

Zimbabwe: Petros Mhari, Ishmael Wadi, Takwara, Teenage Hadebe, Onismor Bhasera, Kelvin Madzongwe, Prince Dube, Kudakwashe Mahashi, Knowledge Musona, Tinotenda Kadewere, Kangwa, Benyu

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