3 min: Peter Oh likes Malawi’s nickname, the Flames, as do I.
“Interesting nickname that Malawi have got there. It’s a good thing for Senegal that they will likely go through to the knockout rounds no matter what. If they needed a result to qualify, their campaign could potentially have gone down in Flames today.”
Senegal, all in white, kick off against the red-clad Malawi and begin at pace, winning a corner …
Capacities for non-Cameroon games are capped at 60% for now, while you have to be vaccinated against Covid and that’s a big problem in most of Africa, but attendances do seem to be picking up after a very sluggish start and it’s a decent atmosphere as the teams come out and sing the anthems.
Guinea v Zimbabwe will happen simultaneously to this game; I’ll have half an eye on it for you. Guinea are, like Senegal, pretty much guaranteed to go through but will have a great chance of winning the group – a bit of a surprise if it happens – if they beat their already-eliminated opponents.
Sadio Mane watch: not overly involved so far this AFCON, but did score the last-gasp penalty that saw off Zimbabwe. No need for him to explode into life til the latter stages, you’d think, but if Senegal do go all the way he’ll have to be a major reason.
Familiarise yourself with Mario Marinica, the man in Malawi’s hot seat, via this brilliant interview by Dave Hytner. It’s some story:
The group stage finales roll onwards and we’ve a tasty one for you this afternoon. Senegal are tipped by many to finally win their first AFCON title this year but they’ve got a job to do in Bafoussam first. If they don’t beat Malawi they probably won’t win Group B, and even then they need to improve on Guinea’s score against Zimbabwe. They should get an easier last-16 tie if they come top of the pile so there’ll be no snoozing today – it’s not been a sparkling showing from Sadio Mane and company so far, but it feels as if we’re due one.
Malawi are no slouches though. They lost narrowly to Guinea and turned around a deficit to beat Zimbabwe, who are now eliminated. Some of their attacking football have been pretty fun. They’re guaranteed at least third place but I doubt they’ll make it through as one of the four best teams in that position unless they finish with four points. It mean a draw, at least, today is vital for them.
Stay with us for the buildup and then, of course, for the match itself! Emails and tweets can flood in to the addresses above – love to hear about your experience of AFCON so far.
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