Malawi arrived in Mbeya on Friday while Taifa Stars sponsored by Kilimanjaro Premium Lager are also in Mbeya ready for the match, which will present a first test to a newly recruited Stars’ Dutch coach, Mart Nooij.
Nooij watched from the stands as his team suffered a heart breaking 0-3 defeat at the hands of lowly Burundi’s Intamba Mu Rugamba’ in an international friendly match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam a week ago.
Nooij (59) was unveiled few hours before the international match held as part of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
The new Stars boss will be tasked to lead the side in their 2015 AFCON campaign, but the task ahead is enormous for the Dutch tactician as his new team seemed to be in complete shambles, basing on the match results and display against Burundi.
Malawi match will also be part of preparations for Taifa Stars ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers preliminary round double header clash against Zimbabwe.
The first leg match will be held at the National Stadium between May 16th and 18th this year.
The winner of the match will face the winner of the first round match between Mozambique and Sudan and the first leg match will be either on July 18,19 or 20 while the return leg will be played on either August 1, 2 or 3.
Taifa Stars are in a transitional period following major reforms made by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) leadership under president Jamal Malinzi, in an effort to ensure that they manage to get into the forthcoming AFCON finals scheduled to be held in Morocco.
The reforms include recruitment of talented youngster to reinforce Stars squad. The youngsters pitched a two month camp in Tukuyu, Mbeya and later joined the senior players in Dar es Salaam before the match against Burundi, which they were comprehensively beaten.
However, confident Stars Assistant Coach Salum Mayanga said that the defeat was part of the game and that the match gave the technical bench a clue on weaknesses and strongest point of their squad and promised to work on the shortcomings.
Basing on Mayanga’s remarks, Mbeya fans should expect to see a more improved and organised Stars, which might bring hope of doing well in the AFCON qualifier. Stars should, however, not expect an easy ride as ‘The Flames’ are also taking the game seriously.
The Malawians are also in the transition period after their Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet, who was hired by Football Association of Malawi (FAM) for a two-month contract, left the team last September and Young Chimodzi and his Assistant Jack Chamangwana took in-charge of the team.
Chimodzi and Chamangwana are also taking the match as a good test for their squad, which will put its players in a good shape before the kick of the preliminary rounds of AFCON qualifiers.
The Flames were paired against Chad in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers second round following the preliminary round and group stage draw held in Cairo, Egypt a week ago.
The first leg is set for weekend of May 17 at Kamuzu Stadium and return leg on weekend of May 31. If they go through, ‘The Flames’ will face the winner between Sao Tome and Benin in third round with the winner proceeding to the group stage.
First legs of the third round will be played either on the weekend of July 18, 19 or 20 and return legs either on August 1, 2, or 3.