Blantyre, Malawi (PANA) - It will be a case of spirit versus quality when the Malawi national football team, the Flames, line up against the Ghana Black Stars in the 2013 Africa Cup of nations qualifier in the Malawi capital, Lilongwe, on Saturday.
The Black Stars hold a 2-0 advantage after winning the first leg at home three weeks ago.
The Flames will line up with a team comprising locally-based players, beefed up with a handful of players from the South African league. These are hardly world-class players. They are like rough diamonds and can only achieve success through sticking together and playing as a team.
Malawi will not feature players from outside Africa.
Ghana, on the other hand, are expected to line up a team with a galaxy of stars plying their trade in top European leagues.
If they fail to gain a place at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, it would be considered a huge upset.
Saturday's match will be a typical David-Goliath affair, with the balance heavily tipped in favour of the visiting team.
Yet, the Malawi coach, Kinnah Phiri, is upbeat about his side’s chances.
"The spirit is high," he said Thursday. "We’ll be playing at home in familiar terrain while our opponents (who will arrive in Malawi on Friday evening) will not have acclimatised fully."
The Malawi coach will be encouraged by performances his players have put up against some of the most respected teams on the continent. In the past few years, Africa football powerhouses such as Egypt, Cote d'Ivoire, Tunisia, DRC and Nigeria have all failed to beat the Flames on home soil.
If Malawi shows the spirit they have shown in the past, and Ghana have an off day – which is not impossible in football - Malawi football fans will be celebrating the third participation in AFCON following qualifications in 1984 in Cote d'Ivoire and 2010 in Angola.
-0- PANA RT/VAO 11Oct2012