By Twimepoki Mangani
Coach for the Malawi football team, Patrick Mabedi has expressed confidence in his youthful squad to execute and compete against Tunisia during the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers Group H tie which will be played on Tuesday at Bingu National Stadium.
Following a victorious outing in Liberia for their first qualification match where the Flames won by a 1-0 margin with a goal from Chifundo Mphasi on Friday, up next are African giants, Tunisia who have made six appearances at the World cup including the 2022 edition in Qatar.
Speaking in a pre-match press conference at Bingu National stadium on Monday, Mabedi said his entire squad completed recovery sessions on a good note while noting that he expects his side to improve with each game.
“We know Tunisia is a good team but we do not fear them rather we respect them. We have struggled in the past against North African countries like Egypt but we learn and move forward”, he said.
Mabedi further acknowledged the process and expressed optimism that the team will soon find their scoring boots.
The Gaffer also hailed cohesion between the young and senior players in the squad noting that the goal is to have a future team that will be competitive and sustainable.
“We are going to trust the players we have, you saw how well Olson Kanjira did against Liberia and he will surely improve,” Mabedi said.
Meanwhile captain for flames, John Banda who reiterated his commitment to the national team upon any call up, said his fellow players are ready for the showdown and encouraged the nation to rally behind them.
“I thank the Coach for giving us freedom to play, we know what’s at stake when playing at home hence we need to get all to get maximum points. Against Liberia nobody gave us a chance but we won therefore we shall do everything possible against Tunisia.”
“The coach has brought change to the team, we are jellying well on and off the pitch. One day I will leave the team and I want to be remembered for helping the younger players as they equally helped me,” Banda said.
Meanwhile Assistant Coach for Tunisia, Slim Ben Achour said they will need to maintain their good momentum and hope for a positive result against Malawi.
“We won our first qualifying game against Sao Tome and Principe, but we are in a tough group so we need to start well and take points,” said Achour.
The Malawi-Tunisia head to head stats since 1987 shows that Malawi has beaten the opponent twice, drawn thrice and lost twice as well.